The man behind projects like Blur and Gorillaz caught up with the Los Angeles Times for a new profile, where he dished on a variety of topics, including his thoughts on Swift and Billie Eilish. At one point in the discussion, he claimed that Swift “doesn’t write her own songs” and that co-writing tracks “doesn’t count.” Swift was quick to put him in check.
“@DamonAlbarn I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this,” Swift wrote while quote-tweeting the LA Times. “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.”
In a follow-up tweet, the music superstar, who is in the midst of releasing several of her re-recorded albums—including the recent Red (Taylor’s Version)—joked that she “wrote this tweet all by myself in case you were wondering.”
As for Albarn’s argument that “co-writing is very different to writing,” the British musician claims that there’s a “big difference between a songwriter and a songwriter who co-writes.” He interestingly uses Eilish, who co-writes music alongside her brother Finneas, as an example.
“Doesn’t mean that the outcome can’t be really great,” he said. “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.”
Swift’s collaborator Jack Antonoff decided to send off some tweets in defense of his friend after reading Albarn’s comments, too, calling him an “herb.”
“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,” Antonoff wrote. “If you were there … cool … go off. if not … maybe …. shut the fuck up?”
Albarn eventually apologized to Swift and said his words were turned into “clickbait.”
“I totally agree with you. i had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait. I apologise unreservedly and unconditionally,” he tweeted in response to Swift’s tweet. “The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand.”
This isn’t the first time Albarn has slighted Swift, either. Back in 2015, he told Rolling Stone on a press run for a Gorillaz project that the lyricist was “remarkable, but not unique.”
Regardless of Albarn’s comments, Swift has continued to break streaming records and create buzz around her re-releases over the last year-plus of teasing them. Red (Taylor’s Version) itself earned the second-largest first week debut for 2021 at the time when it dropped in November, falling only behind Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, as Swift brought in an exceptional 605,000 equivalent album units.