Albarn was quoted in an article as saying Swift “doesn’t write her own songs”.
Damon Albarn has apologised “unreservedly and unconditionally” to Taylor Swift after comments he made about the singer-songwriter caused an uproar among her fans.
Ahead of a gig in LA on Monday (24 January), the Blur and Gorillaz frontman was interviewed in the Los Angeles Times, during which he was asked about modern music.
After the rocker said that a lot of modern musicians rely on “sound and attitude” rather than songwriting, critic Mikael Wood called Swift “an excellent songwriter”, to which Albarn is reported to have replied: “She doesn’t write her own songs”.
When the interviewer responded that Swift did and that she “co-writes some of them”, Albarn is quoted as saying:
“That doesn’t count. I know what co-writing is. Co-writing is very different to writing.
“I’m not hating on anybody, I’m just saying there’s a big difference between a songwriter and a songwriter who co-writes. Doesn’t mean that the outcome can’t be really great. And some of the greatest singers — I mean, Ella Fitzgerald never wrote a song in her life.
“When I sing, I have to close my eyes and just be in there. I suppose I’m a traditionalist in that sense.
“A really interesting songwriter is Billie Eilish and her brother. I’m more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift. It’s just darker — less endlessly upbeat. Way more minor and odd. I think she’s exceptional.”
In response, Swift took to Twitter to call Albarn’s comments “completely false and so damaging”.
“I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this. I write ALL of my own songs,” she said.
“Your hot take is completely false and SO damaging. You don’t have to like my songs but it’s really f***** up to try and discredit my writing. WOW.”
She then added: “PS I wrote this tweet all by myself in case you were wondering.”
@DamonAlbarn I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this. I write ALL of my own songs. Your hot take is completely false and SO damaging. You don’t have to like my songs but it’s really fucked up to try and discredit my writing. WOW. https://t.co/t6GyXBU2Jd
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) January 24, 2022
Along with many of the pop star’s fans rushing to her defence, her frequent collaborators Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff posted the following statements on Twitter.
Not sure why you @Damonalbarn would try to discredit Taylor's brilliant songwriting but as someone who has gotten to press record around her …your statements couldn't be further from the truth…you're obviously completely clueless as to her actual writing and work process
— Aaron Dessner (@aaron_dessner) January 24, 2022
i’ve never met damon albarn and he’s never been to my studio but apparently he knows more than the rest of us about all those songs taylor writes and brings in. herb.
— jackantonoff (@jackantonoff) January 24, 2022
Following the backlash, Albarn replied to Swift on Twitter saying he “totally” agreed with her.
“I had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait,” he wrote.
“I apologise unreservedly and unconditionally. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand.”
I totally agree with you. i had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait. I apologise unreservedly and unconditionally. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand. – Damon
— Damon Albarn (@Damonalbarn) January 24, 2022
Albarn is also reported to have referenced the controversy during his Monday gig in LA.
According to a Spin review of the show, Albarn joked that he had been cast into the “social media abyss” before closing the show with Blur hit ‘Song 2′, dedicating it to the Los Angeles Times’ critic Mikael Wood.
He also reportedly told those in attendance: “You can judge for yourself” and “I think I’m becoming old fashioned” with regards to the piece.