In an appearance on “The What” podcast — intended to promote Antonoff’s Superjam at this year’s Bonnaroo festival — the Bleachers frontman told host Brad Steiner Albarn’s idea of what songwriting involves is “very literal, and also wrong.”
“I don’t mind talking shit, like this or that — but I don’t like it when artists take almost this Trumpian approach of just making things up,” Antonoff said. “I don’t care if Damon Albarn or anyone likes or doesn’t like something. But to unequivocally make a statement that isn’t true, that you actually have no idea about, and not to get too deep on it? Isn’t that kind of everything that’s wrong with our world at the moment? People talking about shit that they have no clue about?”
Antonoff added that he expected that sort of behavior from politicians and “corporate assholes” — but not from musicians.
Albarn’s comments stemmed from a Los Angeles Times interview where the British rocker proclaimed Swift “doesn’t write her own songs” because she often collaborates with other writers. “I’m not hating on anybody,” he explained. “I’m just saying there’s a big difference between a songwriter and a songwriter who co-writes.”
“It’s such a vulnerable thing to be an artist and a songwriter,” Antonoff said. “You wanna go full Liam Gallagher and be like, ‘This person sucks, that person sucks.’ Whatever, do you. But to just launch this sort of weird, baseless [claim] with this bravado that it’s such fact? I mean I tweeted this, but maybe before you say that, you should shut the fuck up.”
The Bleachers frontman isn’t the first person to come to Swift’s defense. The National’s Aaron Dessner, who worked with Swift on Folklore and Evermore, wrote on Twitter at the time of the controversy that Albarn’s “statements couldn’t be further from the truth. You’re obviously completely clueless as to her actual writing and work process.”
Albarn did eventually issue an apology to Swift, blaming the LA Times for publishing “clickbait.”
“I totally agree with you,” he said on Twitter. “The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand.”
Swift, meanwhile, has moved on from the drama. The singer will appear on a reworked version of Ed Sheeran’s 2021 song “The Joker And The Queen,” set to drop Friday.