Damon Albarn apologises to Taylor Swift after appearing to question her songwriting credentials

Damon Albarns
(Image credit: Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images)

Blur frontman Damon Albarn has been forced to apologise to Taylor Swift after appearing to question her songwriting skills in a recent interview.

Speaking to the LA Times, Albarn challenged the interviewer to name a modern musician who wasn’t relying on “sound and attitude”. When the interviewer brought up Swift’s name, Albarn claimed that “She doesn’t write her own songs”.

When it was pointed out that Swift does in fact write and co-write her own material, Albarn replied: “That doesn’t count. 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.”

He then went on to praise Billie Eilish, who co-writes with her brother Finneas, calling her songwriting “really interesting”. 

“I’m more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift,” he added. “It’s just darker - less endlessly upbeat. Way more minor and odd. I think she’s exceptional.”

In response to the interview, Swift addressed Albarn on Twitter, saying: “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 was supported by Jack Antonoff, her long-time collaborator and producer, who said: “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. 

In a second tweet, he added: “If you were there… cool… go off. If not… maybe… shut the fuck up?”

Albarn’s comments also caught the attention of Aaron Dessner, who co-wrote with Swift on her Folkmore and Evermore albums, and also called him out.

“Not sure why you would try to discredit Taylor's brilliant songwriting but as someone who has gotten to press record around her, your statements couldn't be further from the truth. You're obviously completely clueless as to her actual writing and work process.”

Albarn has since replied directly to Swift’s tweet, saying: 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.”

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Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.