UPDATE 1/25: Damon Albarn referenced the Swift controversy before the finale of his performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles Monday night, according to Spin. The British rocker even took aim at Los Angeles Times music critic Mikael Wood, whose interview with Albarn contained the original Swift quip. Albarn claimed Wood “cast me into the social media abyss” and told fans “you can judge for yourself,” suggesting his comments about the 11-time Grammy Award winner were taken out of context.
Meanwhile, Gabriel Boric Font, the president-elect of Chile, came to Swift’s defense. “Here in Chile you have a huge group of supporters who knows that you write you own songs from the heart,” he said. “Don’t take seriously guys that need to insult or lie to get attention. Hugs from the South, Taylor.”
UPDATE 1/24: Albarn has issued an apology to Swift, blaming The Los Angeles Times for publishing “clickbait.” “I totally agree with you,” he told her. “I had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait. I apologize unreservedly and unconditionally. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand.”
Dear Damon Albarn: The idea you had of Taylor Swift, who was she? One day after the Blur frontman discredited her as a songwriter — claiming that she didn’t write her own songs — Swift has fired back.
“I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this,” Swift tweeted. “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.”
The songwriter — yes, songwriter — then followed up once more: “P.S. I wrote this tweet all by myself, in case you were wondering.”
Albarn shunned Swift as a songwriter in an interview with The Los Angeles Times on Sunday, claiming it doesn’t count if she has co-writers: “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,” he added. “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.”
Swift’s frequent producer Jack Antonoff also replied to Albarn, tweeting, “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. If you were there … cool … go off. If not … maybe …. shut the fuck up?”
The National’s Aaron Dessner, who collaborated with Swift on the Grammy-award winning Folklore and its follow-up, Evermore, questioned why Albarn “would try to discredit Taylor’s brilliant songwriting.”
“As someone who has gotten to press record around her,” he tweeted, “Your statements couldn’t be further from the truth…you’re obviously completely clueless as to her actual writing and work process.”
This isn’t the first time Albarn has had beef with a female musician. He recorded with Adele in 2015, and ended up describing the singer as “insecure.” Adele responded to the comment that year in Rolling Stone, saying, “It ended up being one of those ‘don’t meet your idol’ moments. And the saddest thing was that I was such a big Blur fan growing up. But it was sad, and I regret hanging out with him.”
The news of Albarn and Swift’s feud arrives less than a week after she was made the 2022 Record Store Day Ambassador — an international holiday that celebrates independent record stores, vinyl culture… and songwriters. Last fall, Billy Joel praised her in an interview with USA Today. “She knows music and she knows how to write,” he said. “She’s like that generation’s Beatles.”