Jack Antonoff is not ready to make nice. Three weeks after Blur leader Damon Albarn set off a war of words over his claims that Jack’s pal Taylor Swift “doesn’t write her own songs,” the Bleachers leader doubled down on his defense of Taylor’s songwriting bona fides. The seemingly final word in the pop skirmish came in an interview on The What podcast in which Antonoff pointedly took a shot at what he said was Albarn’s very off-the-mark ideas about what constitutes proper songwriting.
“I don’t mind talking s–t, like this or that — but I don’t like it when artists take almost this Trumpian approach of just making things up,” Antonoff said, comparing the Gorillaz singer’s comments to the deluge of false and misleading information masquerading as fact spread during the previous U.S. presidential administration. “I don’t care if Damon Albarn or anyone likes or doesn’t like something. But to unequivocally make a statement that isn’t true, that you actually have no idea about, and not to get too deep on it, but isn’t that kind of everything that’s wrong with our world at the moment? People talking about s–t at they have no clue about?”
When the show’s host said it seemed like Albarn’s idea of “you’re either a songwriter or not” was “very, very literal,” Antonoff responded by saying “it’s literal, but it’s also wrong… the Damon thing, what it says to me — because obviously it’s completely absurd and every one knows that — you’re talking about one of the greatest songwriters of our generation who has her name as the only name on many songs. You don’t need to to explain it, it’s just fact.”
Frankly, Antonoff added, he expects that kind of distortion from “politicians… idiots and herbs and corporate a–holes,” but not from fellow artists. “To launch this weird, baseless concept with this bravado that it’s such fact,” he added, alluding to a tweet he sent in the midst of the imbroglio in which he suggested that before saying such things Damon should maybe just, “shut the f–k up.”
Albarn set the fire during a Los Angeles Times interview in January in which he claimed that Swift doesn’t really write her own songs because she frequently collaborates with others. “I’m just saying there’s a big difference between a songwriter and a songwriter who co-writes,” said Albarn, 53, in the Times profile.
After a number of fellow musicians came to Swift’s defense, Albarn quickly backtracked and apologized to Swift, claiming that the Times writer had manipulated his words to get clicks, tweeting, “I totally agree with you. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand.”
That mea culpa came after Antonoff 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. herb,” on (Jan. 24). A day later, Billboard reported that, for the record, Swift has sole writing credit on 54 songs, beginning at age 12 up until now, while noting that she wrote all of her third studio album, Speak Now, on her own.
Listen to Antonoff’s interview here (Taylor talk begins at 37 minutes).