It’s never wise to criticize the credentials of one of the most popular songwriters of a generation, but that’s just what the Gorillaz/Blur musician Damon Albarn did in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, in which he claimed that Taylor Swift doesn’t write her own songs.
Swift quickly pushed back at the claim on Twitter, and Albarn has already apologized.
In the interview, Albarn was questioned about which modern musicians’ music will stand the test of time. When the interviewer shared Swift as an example of an “excellent songwriter,” Albarn responded that, “She doesn’t write her own songs.” Pressed further, Albarn doubled down on his claim. Here’s the exchange:
You think a lot of modern musicians are relying on sound and attitude?
Name me someone who’s not.
She may not be to your taste, but Taylor Swift is an excellent songwriter.
She doesn’t write her own songs.
Of course she does. Co-writes some of them.
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.
On Twitter, Swift responded in a quote tweet to a clip of the article, writing to Albarn, “[W]as 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.”
Swift’s frequent collaborator and producer Jack Antonoff also weighed in, writing on Twitter, “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.”
Albarn has already apologized, addressing Swift with the following tweet: “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”
Swift has famously written many of her songs completely on her own, in addition to others that have been collaborations. In 2020, the title track from her album Lover was nominated for Song of the Year, and was the only song in that category written by just one person (Swift).
RIP to Albarn’s Twitter mentions, forever.