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Liam Gallagher points out Damon Albarn’s co-writing in light of Taylor Swift row

Albarn has co-written some material with his Gorillaz collaborator Jamie Hewlett

By Charlotte Krol

Liam Gallagher, Damon Albarn and Taylor Swift in a composite image
Liam Gallagher; Damon Albarn; Taylor Swift. (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/various)

Liam Gallagher has suggested that Damon Albarn’s claims that Taylor Swift “doesn’t write her songs” paint him as a hypocrite because “all them fucking [Gorillaz] albums are co-writes”.

The soloist and former Oasis singer said in a new interview that Albarn, who fronts Blur as well as performs solo, has built parts of his career from co-writing and collaborations, particularly with regards to his work in the virtual band Gorillaz with Jamie Hewlett.

When asked by NME whether co-writing isn’t “real” songwriting, Gallagher answered: “Says who? All them fucking [Gorillaz] albums are co-writes aren’t they? I get it – Noel [his brother] bangs on about it as well: ‘I’m more important than you because I write my fucking songs.’”

Addressing the Albarn-Swift row, Gallagher said: “Well, [Albarn] won’t be saying that again in a hurry, though, will he? Did he not get ran out of fucking town by the Swifters? I think [Taylor’s] fucking cool, man. She does write her songs and I’m sure she’s co-wrote with people.”

Liam Gallagher performs live wearing a black Parka jacket
Liam Gallagher’s ‘C’mon You Know’ is out in May. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Thesupermat)

Last month, Albarn was asked by the Los Angeles Times about modern songwriters “relying on sound and attitude,” to which he said: “Name me someone who’s not.”

The interviewer then said: “She may not be to your taste, but Taylor Swift is an excellent songwriter,” to which Albarn replied: “She doesn’t write her own songs.”

“Co-writing is very different to writing,” Albarn continued. “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.

“And some of the greatest singers — I mean, Ella Fitzgerald never wrote a song in her life. When I sing, I have to close my eyes and just be in there. I suppose I’m a traditionalist in that sense. A really interesting songwriter is Billie Eilish and her brother. I’m more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift. It’s just darker — less endlessly upbeat. Way more minor and odd. I think she’s exceptional.”

In response to the article, Swift tweeted at Albarn, writing: “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.”

Albarn later apologised, claiming that his quotes were “reduced to clickbait” by the publication, and that he “totally” agreed with Swift.

“I apologise unreservedly and unconditionally. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand,” he wrote.

Albarn is the chief songwriter of Gorillaz’ songs, however, his creative project partner Hewlett (an artist/director who designs artwork for the group) has also helped compose Gorillaz’s music. In 2006 he and Albarn won the joint award for Songwriters of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards.

Meanwhile, Gallagher recently criticised Coldplay’s 2022 Best Alternative/Rock act BRITs nomination, saying “they’re not rock”.