Remember when Taylor Swift released that godawful cover of Earth, Wind, and Fire’s 1978 hit “September”? If you’re unfamiliar, consider yourself lucky. Swift took this incredibly infectious funk classic and turned it into, well, the exact opposite. Many people were understandably upset with the record, while others gave it their stamp of approval. “September” co-writer Allee Willis initially fell into the latter group, claiming she was honored that Swift decided to rework one of her biggest songs.
“’September’ was my first hit and favorite song of mine I ever have had the joy of being a part of,” Willis told Billboard last month, shortly after Swift’s version was released. “Taylor Swift is the absolute cherry on top of a very soulful and happy sundae.”
Well, it seems Willis was simply sugarcoating. According to Billboard, the songwriter gave a much more honest response to Swift’s “September” cover during a Friday night performance in Detroit. Willis told the audience she was informed about the singer’s cover only hours before it dropped, and that her manager had asked her to release a favorable statement on the track. Willis obliged.
“On the same day things happened in Syria, the FBI broke into Michael Cohen's office... the worst thing that happened as far as the internet was concerned on this 449th day of all of our brains feeling like they've been hurled back and forth like squash balls, the top-trending topic on Twitter was the Taylor Swift cut of 'September,'" said Willis, who wrote the original track alongside the late Maurice White and Al McKay. “I didn't really think she did a horrible job. Yes, I felt it was as lethargic as a drunk turtle dozing under a sunflower after ingesting a bottle of Valium, and I thought it had all the build of a one-story motel, but, I mean, the girl didn't kill anybody. She didn't run over your foot. She just cut a very calm and somewhat boring take of one of the peppiest, happiest, most popular songs in history.”
Is that a defense? Yes, Swift’s cover was whack AF, but at least she didn’t murder anyone. OK then.