The National’s Aaron Dessner defends Taylor Swift’s ‘brilliant songwriting’ after Damon Albarn remarks

·2 min read
Taylor Swift, Damon Albarn and Aaron Dessner  (Getty Images)
Taylor Swift, Damon Albarn and Aaron Dessner (Getty Images)

The National frontman Aaron Dessner has defended Taylor Swift’s “brilliant songwriting” amid the singer’s feud with Gorrilaz star Damon Albarn.

After Albarn claimed Swift “doesn’t write her own songs” in a recent interview with LA Times, Dessner criticised the English musician’s “completely clueless” comments about the “All Too Well” singer.

On Tuesday (25 January), Dessner tweeted: “Not sure why you, Damon Albarn, 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.”

In addition to co-producing Swift’s 2020 albums, Evermore and Grammy-winning Folklore, Dessner is also credited as a producer on multiple bonus From The Vault tracks on Swift’s re-recorded versions of “Fearless” and “Red” that were released last year.

On Monday (24 January), LA Times published an interview with Albarn during which the “Jungle” singer claimed most modern musicians relied on “sound and attitude” to carry their performances.

When the interviewer mentioned Swift as an example of someone who doesn’t rely on these things, calling her “an excellent songwriter”, Albarn replied: “She doesn’t write her own songs.”

Journalist Mikael Wood replied: “Of course she does. Co-writes some of them.”

To this, Albarn said: “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.”

Ironically, Albarn commended “Billie Eilish and her brother” as a “really interesting songwriter” as a counter-example to Swift.

In an article for The Independent, Kevin Perry pointed out that Billie and Finneas Eilish are the “perfect example of songwriters who co-write all their material”, which is the “same supposed crime” Albarn believes Swift is guilty of.

Swift responded to Albarn’s comments about her on Twitter late last night. The singer, who is officially credited with writing or co-writing all of her music, tweeted that she was “such a big fan” Albarn until she 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,” the Grammy winner said.

“PS I wrote this tweet all by myself in case you were wondering,” she mockingly added.

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