Time and time again, we see women’s achievements in the music industry belittled and undermined. Amrit Virdi delves into the most recent example of Damon Albarn (inaccurately) criticising Taylor Swift’s songwriting approach.
Lead singer of Blur and Gorillaz, Damon Albarn has made a name for himself in the industry, winning 5 Brit Awards with Blur and being nominated twice as a solo artist. That is why his controversial comments about songwriting in a recent interview with the LA Times were so surprising, as someone with his level of fame and respect may be expected to respect the writing styles of different artists.
When asked about Taylor Swift, he simply replied “she doesn’t write her own songs”, and when corrected that she has been involved in co-writing as well, he uttered “that doesn’t count”
When asked about Taylor Swift, he simply replied “she doesn’t write her own songs”, and when corrected that she has been involved in co-writing as well, he uttered “that doesn’t count. Co-writing is very different to writing”, even going as far as comparing Swift to Billie Eilish, who he finds the work of more interesting as “It’s just darker”. Quite frankly however, everyone knows that Albarn is just wrong, as Taylor Swift has been renowned for writing her own songs and being able to transcend across a multitude of genres.
After Swift’s well-justified fiery response, Albarn has said that the article doesn’t accurately reflect his views and was written with “clickbait in mind”, despite the article clearly being in a Q&A format and written as if it was reported speech. In this case, it seems that Albarn wasn’t educated enough to comment on Swift’s work but felt the need to anyway.
@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 fucked up to try and discredit my writing. WOW. https://t.co/t6GyXBU2Jd— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) January 24, 2022
Many have sprung to Swift’s defence, including country star Dolly Parton who said “I really get rubbed wrong when people mistreat the artist. She’s magnificent. I admire her, she’s very creative and smart.” Yet this isn’t the first time that Swift has come in the unnecessary firing line – who can forget Kanye West’s storming of the 2009 VMAs stage when Taylor won an award and Kanye decided to state his opinion that Beyoncé deserved to win instead. The situation with Albarn is not dissimilar; Swift’s achievements have been undermined now and in the 2009 incident, and it is sad to see that change clearly hasn’t happened in the industry to give women credit for their talent.
There is clearly a lot of work to be done in the industry
Seeing undermined, successful women such as Swift stand up for themselves and receive apologies from uneducated critics (despite their apparent emptiness) can be seen as a step in the right direction; however, there is clearly a lot of work to be done in the industry. Women need to feel accepted and appreciated, and instances like this just remind us of the inherent discrimination of women who are constantly pitted against each other. While I wish that we won’t see an instance like this again, I sadly do expect to see something similar in the future.
In-article image courtesy of @taylorswift13 via twitter.com. No changes made to this image.
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