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Damon Albarn Incorrectly Claims Taylor Swift “Doesn’t Write Her Own Songs,” Swift Responds [UPDATED]

The Gorillaz/Blur frontman brushed off the pop star's songwriting credentials, even though she's composed many of own songs.

damon albarn taylor swift doesn't write her own songs
Damon Albarn (photo by Linda Brownlee) and Taylor Swift (photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
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    Damon Albarn is not exempt from having opinions about Taylor Swift, and he’s certainly not shy about sharing them on the record — even if they’re unfounded. In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, the Gorillaz/Blur frontman aired his grievances about the “All Too Well” singer, incorrectly griping that she “doesn’t write her own songs.” Update: Swift has responded in a scathing tweet, prompting Albarn to issue an apology on his personal Twitter. See their responses below.

    The topic came up when Albarn was asked about his show at Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, where he’ll be playing songs from his new solo album The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows on just piano and strings. “It’s actually quite hard, doing a whole concert on piano,” Albarn explained. “You can’t hide behind anything. You learn whether the songs are any good or whether they were popular at the time because of the sound and the attitude. It’s a day of reckoning — and one, to be honest, that not much modern music could withstand.”

    When the interviewer, LA Times pop music critic Mikael Wood, pointed out that Swift’s songwriting is good enough to suit a stripped-down instrumentation — as she’s clearly exhibited with her multiple recordings at Aaron Dessner’s Long Pond Studios — Albarn snapped back: “She doesn’t write her own songs.”

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    While it’s true that Swift has enlisted a slew of co-writers across her albums, she’s pretty widely known for penning almost all of her own music and lyrics; lest we forget, she wrote 2010’s Speak Now entirely on her own at just 20 years old. Still, that’s not enough for Albarn: “[Co-writing] doesn’t count,” he said. “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… I suppose I’m a traditionalist in that sense.”

    Following the publication of that interview, Swift issued a scathing response on Twitter. “@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.”

    She added, “PS I wrote this tweet all by myself in case you were wondering.”

    Antonoff, who has worked with Swift on a number of her recent releases, also came to her defense: “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,” he tweeted. “if you were there … cool … go off. if not … maybe …. shut the fuck up?”

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    Albarn, sensing the wrath about to befall on him, responded to Swift directly on Twitter. “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.”

    One mega-pop star whose music Albarn enjoys, however, is Billie Eilish, who’s co-written virtually all her music alongside her producer brother, Finneas. “I’m more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift,” Albarn said of the “bad guy” phenom. “It’s just darker — less endlessly upbeat. Way more minor and odd. I think she’s exceptional.”

    Finneas is the sole writer of Eilish’s 2016 breakout single, “Ocean Eyes,” so Albarn’s argument here about the validity of co-writing vs. writing is pretty strained. Apropos of nothing, remember when Liam Gallagher declared “Shake It Off” a “fucking tune?”

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    Earlier this month, Swift was named Record Store Day ambassador for 2022, and in 2021 she helped reverse a 17-year decline in CD sales.

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