Damon Albarn addresses Taylor Swift backlash during L.A. concert: ‘Cast me into the social media abyss’

American Age Official

Monday night at Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Hall, during a solo concert showcasing his new orchestral solo album The Nearer the Mountain, More Pure the Stream Flows, Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn addressed recent his controversial criticism of Taylor Swift. 

The Britpop star’s claim in a Los Angeles Times interview — that the three-time Album of the Year Grammy-winner “doesn’t write her own songs” — had gone viral earlier in the day, after Swift put Albarn on blast, furiously tweeting, for her nearly 90 million followers to see, that his comments were “damaging” and “f***ed up.”

Onstage at Disney Hall, Albarn wryly told the audience that veteran journalist Mikael Wood, who wrote the L.A. Times piece, “cast me into the social media abyss.” It was in fact Wood that brought up Swift during the Times interview, but only to counter Albarn’s grumpy argument that most current-day pop artists rely too much on “sound and attitude” rather than on old-fashioned songcraft. It’s highly unlikely that Wood was the actual L.A. Times staffer who isolated Albarn’s anti-Swift remarks in an eyebrow-raising post on the newspaper’s official Twitter account — a tweet that caught Swift’s attention and prompted her indignant response.

On Monday afternoon, Swift angrily tweeted Albarn: “@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 f***ed up to try and discredit my writing. WOW … PS I wrote this tweet all by myself in case you were wondering.”

Albarn, to his credit, then “unreservedly and unconditionally” apologized to Swift, but in that moment he also seemed to blame on the Times and social media for the hubbub, griping that he’d “had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait.” (Swift has yet to publicly respond to Albarn’s apology.)

Meanwhile, Swift’s collaborators fiercely defended Swift online. Producer and fun./Bleachers musician Jack Antonoff, who worked on the Swift albums Reputation, Lover, Folklore, and Evermore, tweeted, “I’ve never met damon albarn and he’s never been to my studio but apparently he knows more than the rest of us about all those songs taylor writes and brings in”; he also told Albarn to “shut the f***k up.”

The National’s Aaron Dessner, one of Swift’s chief collaborators on Folklore and Evermore, also chimed in, posting, “Not sure why you @Damonalbarn would try to discredit Taylor’s brilliant songwriting but as someone who has gotten to press record around her …your statements couldn’t be further from the truth…you’re obviously completely clueless as to her actual writing and work process.”

As for the 53-year-old Albarn — who described himself as a “traditionalist” in the L.A. Times article cheekily titled “For Damon Albarn, modern life is still pretty much rubbish” — he seems to hold no actual ill will towards Wood, as he still heeded the journalist’s personal request to play Blur’s biggest U.S. hit, “Song 2,” during his Disney Hall set. He also sarcastically told the crowd, “I think I’m becoming old-fashioned.”

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