Musicians sniping at each other is a tradition nearly as long as the music industry itself, but the music world's most recent beef comes via a most unexpected pairing: Singer/songwriter Taylor Swift and frontman for the bands Gorillaz and Blur, Damon Albarn.
After Albarn told a Los Angeles Times interviewer that Swift doesn't write her own songs, which he derided as "endlessly upbeat," Swift fired right back on Twitter.
She posted a blistering clapback that not only put Albarn in place but sparked a backlash so intense that Albarn ended up sending Swift an apology.
See Swift's tweet below.
"@DamonAlbarn I was such a big fan of yours until I saw [your comments]. 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 fu*ked up to try and discredit my writing. WOW."
Albarn's comments about Swift came after The Los Angeles Times' Mikael Wood called Swift's songwriting "excellent" even if it's not "to your taste." Albarn replied flatly, "She doesn't write her own songs."
When Wood pushed back and mentioned that she both writes and co-writes her material, Albarn explained that co-writing isn't valid.
“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. Doesn’t mean that the outcome can’t be really great.”
Albarn then cited as one of his favorite contemporary songwriters Billie Eilish--and her co-writer, her brother Finneas Eilish.
“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.”
The backlash against Albarn's was practically instantaneous--including from fellow music-industry heavyweights like Jack Antonoff, who has frequently produced Swift's music, and fellow singer-songwriter Maren Morris. Even the new President of Chile weighed in.
The response reached such a fever pitch that Albarn responded to Swift directly with an apology in which he essentially claimed he was taken out of context. He wrote:
But many people weren't buying Albarn's apology and it did little to quell the backlash--especially given that Albarn's most recent album is almost entirely co-written.
Swift, who Rolling Stone named as one of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time in 2015, is the winner of several prestigious songwriting awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.