Within 12 hours of becoming persona non grata among Taylor Swift fans around the world, Blur and Gorillaz singer Damon Albarn used his Los Angeles concert to further address his comments about the pop star.
During the tail end of Albarn’s Walt Disney Concert Hall show on Jan. 24 — reportedly a 17-song tour de force that lasted 75 minutes — Albarn joked about Los Angeles Times pop music critic Mikael Wood, who interviewed him and asked about Swift, again suggesting that he was misrepresented in the article.
A video uploaded to Twitter by one concertgoer shows Albarn saying on stage that “before he cast me into the social media abyss,” Wood asked if he would play “Song 2,” the iconic Blur track from the band’s self-titled fifth studio album in 1997. Albarn says he initially responded with “not a chance,” but then rehearsed the song for the concert. He then tells fans that “you can judge for yourself” whether it was worth it, adding “I think I’m just becoming old fashioned.” It’s not exactly clear what the latter remark is referencing.
The singer then dedicates the song to Wood.
The concert was the British musician’s only scheduled show in the U.S. in 2022. It’s his first solo concert Stateside since 2014, as per U.S. outlet Spin.
— Torr Leonard (@torrHL) January 25, 2022
Earlier on Monday, Albarn was quick to take to Twitter to apologize to Swift and clarify comments made about her in the Los Angeles Times story.
“I totally agree with you,” Albarn tweeted. “I had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait. I apologize unreservedly and unconditionally. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand.”
In the article, Albarn claimed Swift “doesn’t write her own songs” after Wood noted Swift was a talented songwriter. When the journalist mentioned Swift also co-writes, Albarn responded, “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.”
In a Twitter thread distilling the interview, the Los Angeles Times tweeted, “Albarn also spills his thoughts on some of today’s chart-topping music artists. Billie Eilish? ‘I think she’s exceptional.’ Taylor Swift? ‘She doesn’t write her own songs.'”
Then, quoting that tweet, Swift — who hadn’t used the platform since mid-December — addressed Albarn directly: “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.”
The drama, all of which unfurled in less than two hours, saw Swift’s collaborators and supporters rush to her defense.
Jack Antanoff, who has produced several of Swift’s songs and albums, also took to social media to criticize Albarn’s claim. The “Bleachers” frontman 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…if you were there, cool go off. If not, maybe shut the fuck up?”
Country music star Maren Morris also defended Swift on Twitter, writing, “Writing songs with songwriters means you’re a songwriter.”
Zack Sharf contributed to this story.