Damon Albarn apologizes to Taylor Swift after saying she ‘doesn’t write her own songs’

A split image of Taylor Swift, left, and Damon Albarn
Singer-songwriters Taylor Swift and Damon Albarn exchanged tweets Monday about a Los Angeles Times article.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press, left; Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times, right)

British singer Damon Albarn has apologized to pop superstar Taylor Swift after saying in a Los Angeles Times interview that the “Folklore” artist “doesn’t write her own songs.”

“I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this,” Swift responded Monday to a tweet from The Times that included Albarn’s comment.

“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 f— up to try and discredit my writing. WOW.”


About an hour later, Albarn replied to Swift, 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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In a recent conversation with Times pop music critic Mikael Wood, the veteran of Blur and Gorillaz lauded anti-pop phenom Billie Eilish and her producer brother, Finneas, as “really interesting” songwriters — before adding that he is “more attracted” to Eilish’s music than to Swift’s.

When Wood hailed Swift as “an excellent songwriter,” Albarn said, “She doesn’t write her own songs.” Wood corrected him, stating, “Of course she does,” while noting that Swift “co-writes some of them.”

But Albarn doubled down.

“That 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. 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.”

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A frequent collaborator of Swift’s, music producer Jack Antonoff, also criticized Albarn’s claim.

“I’ve never met damon albarn and he’s never been to my studio,” he tweeted, “but apparently he knows more than the rest of us about all those songs taylor writes and brings in.”


Read Wood’s full Q&A with Albarn here.