One controversy in the showbiz world this week appears to be over songwriting. Is it perhaps the scandalous revelation that Universal boss Lucian Grainge was paid more last year than every songwriter in Britain combined? Or maybe the press got wind of Spotify trying to reduce their payments?
Not exactly. No, a singer called Damon Albarn – you might know him from Gorillaz, or 90s band Blur – recently claimed in an LA Times interview that Taylor Swift doesn’t write any of her own songs. This isn’t entirely true, and he was called our for saying it both by the interviewer and by Swift herself. Here’s exactly what he said…
After the inevitable pile-on from Taylor Swift fans, Albarn backtracked by claiming his comments had been reduced to clickbait and that he meant no offence. Since then, he’s taken to playing the victim, telling anyone who paid to listen that he was “cast into the social media abyss”. He seemed almost shocked he was being held to account for saying something which wasn’t true.
Many have called him out for seemingly being misogynistic, a much misused word these days by righteous Annabel Ross types. That’s for them to decide – but my main problem with Albarn is he’s demonstrating an attitude which is entirely typical in the music world
And that’s the view he should be able to say and do whatever the hell he likes, and it’s the person who dares to call him out that has the problem. Indeed, I suspect if we were talking about a person with less of a profile than Taylor Swift, his reaction would have considerably more defiant.
Traditionally, a person owns up to a mistake by accepting what they said was wrong. Albarn doesn’t seem to have done that – and I also have a problem with his comments in the sense they whitewash his own past. Because one quick look at the Gorillaz latest album discovers he didn’t write those songs by himself either.
And further research reveals Albarn wrote roughly as much by himself as he did with other people – or does it not count as co-writing when he does it? Popbuzz, in the meantime, compiled a list of what Taylor Swift wrote – and by the looks of it, Swift has actually written more by herself than him.
Time to start trying to see the wood for the trees, Damon…