Musicians defend Taylor Swift after Damon Albarn says she “doesn’t write her own songs”

Self Esteem, The Anchoress, Maisie Peters and The Subways are among those to have criticised Albarn for his comments

Figures from the music world have come out to defend Taylor Swift after Damon Albarn claimed that she “doesn’t write her own songs”.

During a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, the Blur and Gorillaz frontman explained that Swift’s “co-writing” approach is at odds with his “traditionalist” view of songwriting.

When the LA Times journalist Mikael Wood put it to him that Swift was “an excellent songwriter”, Albarn responded: “She doesn’t write her own songs.”

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He went on to say that co-writing “doesn’t count”, adding: “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.”

Swift later responded to Albarn’s comments, tweeting: “@DamonAlbarn I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this.

“I write ALL 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.”

Damon Albarn and Taylor Swift
Damon Albarn; Taylor Swift (Picture: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Albarn subsequently apologised “unreservedly and unconditionally” to Swift, claiming that his words had been “reduced to clickbait”. He said: “The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand.”

Elsewhere, Swift’s recent collaborators Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner – who both worked with the singer on ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’ – criticised Albarn for his comments. “If you were there…cool…go off,” Antonoff tweeted. “If not…maybe…shut the fuck up?”

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Dessner, meanwhile, said he was “not sure” why Albarn would attempt “to discredit Taylor’s brilliant songwriting”.

“As someone who has gotten to press record around her… your statements couldn’t be further from the truth,” he continued. “You’re obviously completely clueless as to her actual writing and work process.”

Albarn has since faced a backlash from fans and musicians alike, with The Anchoress, Maisie Peters, The Subways and Jedward among those to have aired their support for Swift on social media.

Beginning a lengthy Twitter thread, The Anchoress wrote: “Every woman in the music industry has encountered some shade of this.

“If I had a £ for every time my production was attributed to some guy or I avoided doing a co-write because this is how it shakes down if you ever DARE to collaborate. It’s so YAWN. Also, men, do your research.”

She continued: “It is a distinctly male privilege to be allowed to explore your creativity via collaboration and not have it assumed that a lack of talent or skill drove the decision. Imagine applying the same judgement to Bowie? A master collaborator that chose his comrades well at every turn.

“Some days I honestly don’t know if I cam face making another record. It’s a lonely business doing it all yourself because if you don’t then it will be credited to someone else. So many female creators I know feel the same.”

The Anchoress added: “Damon Albarn’s attitude towards female authorship (and that IS the subtext of his nonsense) is the same reason only 2 per cent of producers are female, & why many women eventually exit the industry completely. It’s like death by a thousand paper-cuts. It’s exhausting.”

In a string of tweets, Self Esteem wrote: “Why is what male musicians think of female musicians a talking point? They should only let musicians say what they mean 5 times a year anyway me included I say the same shit every time.”

Maisie Peters commented: “Taylor Swift could write ‘Song 2’ but Damon Albarn could never write All Too Well 10 minute version.”

Elsewhere, The Subways said: “Honestly, the number of dudes in this industry who have songs written for them (don’t ask) and no-one makes a peep about it. But women? Consistently undermined for their contributions on and off the stage/in the studio. Why? The patriarchy.”

The group went on to hail Swift as being “the real deal. Fact”.

Jedward called Albarn’s apology “fake AF”. “You said what you said! you are degrading,” they continued. “Hope you understand – Jedward.” Replying to Swift’s tweet, the duo wrote: “Will go to [Albarn’s] show tonight with a Taylor Swift poster his solo album is a complete Blur and should be titled full of skips.”

Liam Gallagher – who previously described Swift’s ‘1989’ single ‘Shake It Off’ as a “fucking tune” – was asked by a fan on Twitter to share his thoughts on the “beef” between Albarn and Swift.

“Love it,” the former Oasis frontman replied, while saying that the two artists are both “great songwriter[s]”. You can see those interactions below.

After making the controversial comments, Albarn told the LA Times that he’s “more attracted to” the “darker” songwriting of Billie Eilish and Finneas, which he said was “less endlessly upbeat” than Swift’s.

“Way more minor and odd,” he continued. “I think [Eilish is] exceptional.”

Albarn was speaking to the publication ahead of his concert at Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall last night (January 24). He was performing in support of his recent solo album ‘The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows’.

He’ll also showcase the record at an intimate show in London next month, taking to the stage at the Troxy on February 20 for the BRITs Week 2022 gig series. Later next month, the musician will perform at London’s Barbican Hall.

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