The article, written in question-answer format, included the question, “You think a lot of modern musicians are relying on sound and attitude?” To which Albarn replied, “Name me someone who’s not.”
“She may not be to your taste,” said the interviewer, Mikael Wood, “but Taylor Swift is an excellent songwriter.” “She doesn’t write her own songs,” said Albarn.
Swift has not taken kindly to the comment, blasting Albarn on Twitter. “@DamonAlbarn 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 wrote.
There is a bit more context. The interviewer corrected Albarn, saying “Of course [Swift] does. Co-writes some of them.” But Albarn remained unimpressed. “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.”
Swift is listed as the sole songwriter on one song from each of her latest two albums, evermore, and its predecessor, folklore: ‘No Body, No Crime’ and ‘My Tears Ricochet’ respectively. The remainder were predominantly co-written with Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff, the albums’ co-producers.
In the LA Times interview, Albarn pulled back from curmudgeonliness to nominate Billie Eilish as a “really interesting songwriter.”
“I’m more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift. It’s just darker — less endlessly upbeat. Way more minor and odd. I think [Eilish is] exceptional.”
UPDATE: Albarn has responded on Twitter, writing in reply to Swift’s tweet, “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. – Damon.”