Whoever had “Taylor Swift feuding with Damon Albarn” on their 2022 Bingo Card is…probably cheating. Taylor, 32, unleashed her fury and the anger of Swifties upon Damon, 53, on Monday (Jan. 24) after the Los Angeles Times published an interview with the British musician. After the Times’ Mikael Wood suggested that Taylor was an “excellent songwriter,” Damon said that she “doesn’t write her own songs” and that “there’s a big difference between a songwriter and a songwriter who co-writes.”
Taylor responded with great vengeance and furious anger. “Your hot take is completely false and SO damaging. You don’t have to like my songs, but it’s really f-cked up to try and discredit my writing.” Jack Antonoff, who has worked with Taylor since 2014’s 1989, also clapped back for Damon knowing “more than the rest of all of us about all the songs Taylor writes and brings in. Herb.” Damon responded to Taylor’s tweet by saying, “I totally agree with you,” and that his conversation about songwriting was “reduced to clickbait. I apologize unreservedly and unconditionally.”
The thing is that this is far from Damon’s first musical clash, and it won’t be the last. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Damon Albarn is a British musician.
Born on Mar. 23, 1968, Damon Albarn grew up in East London with bohemian liberal parents. “I always thought my parents were absolutely dead right,” he said, per the Independent in 2003. “I went against the grain in a weird way – by continually following them.” He developed an early love of music and pursued it as he grew up. While attending London’s Goldsmiths College, he formed a band with Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree. The group first called themselves Seymour but later changed their name – to Blur.
1. He’s The Frontman For Blur & Gorillaz.
American GenXers will know Damon as the voice behind “Girls & Boys” and “Country House.” Millennials and older GenZ listeners will know him as the voice behind “Song 2,” “Clint Eastwood,” and “Feel Good Inc.”
British listeners would know him for a lot more because, for one period, he was part of the biggest bands in the U.K. As grunge and alternative were taking over stateside, the Britpop era of the early 1990s dominated the U.K. Blur – along with Oasis, Suede, and Pulp – were at the Britpop forefront.
Blur exploded on the scene with albums like Leisure, Modern Life Is Rubbish and Parklife. 1997’s self-titled album featured the grittier and more explosive “Song 2,” which saw a stylistic change. The band released 13 in 1999, which saw further sonic exploration.
In 2001, fans were introduced to Gorillaz via the debut single, “Clint Eastwood.” A creation between Damon and Jamie Hewlett (the co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl), Gorillaz is a virtual band with characters 2-D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, and Russel Hobbs. Gorrilaz has, as of 2022, released seven full-length albums and has conducted six tours.
3. He’s Also In A Couple Of Other Bands.
Damon is in the supergroup the Good, the Bad & the Queen (featuring Simon Tong of The Verve, Paul Simonon of The Clash, and Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen) and Rocket Juice & The Moon (which features Damon, Tony Allen, and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea.) In 2106, Damon was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to music.
His other “supergroup” is with Suzi Winstanley, who gave birth to her and Damon’s daughter, Missy, in 1999.
4. Damon ‘Feuded’ With Oasis.
Britpop arguably reached its peak when Blur released “Country House” the same day Oasis released “Roll With It.” Britpop fans and onlookers saw it as a clash between the middle-class Essex boys (Blur) and the working-class Manchester lads (Oasis), but this was just a sampling of the beef between these two groups.
“Britpop in general encouraged competitiveness,” said Mike Smith, Blur’s publisher, per NME. “It didn’t take much for Noel [Gallagher of Oasis] and Damon to rise to it. Both wanted to be the biggest band in the country. So much was made in the media of posh southern kids and rough working-class northerners. It was ridiculous, as none of the Blur boys came from those places. It was more a clash between art school traditions and Oasis’ classic British R&B.”
“When Oasis got to Number One with ‘Some Might Say,’ I went to their celebration party, y’know, just to say ‘Well done.’ And Liam [Gallager] came over and, like he is, he goes, ‘Number fookin’ One!’, right in my face. So I thought, ‘OK, we’ll see…’” said Albarn, per NME. Blur’s “Country House” would score the No. 1 spot over “Roll With It,” selling 270,000 copies to Oasis’s 220,000.
Afterward, the two bands took a few snipes at each other, here and there, but with Britpop fizzling and the Gallagher brothers starting to fight themselves, the feud was over as quickly as it started.
5. Damon ‘Clashed’ With Adele
Adele tried to get Damon to help on her 2015 album, 25, but it didn’t go so well. “The thing is, she’s very insecure,” Damon was quoted in The Sun when speaking of Adele, per NME. “And she doesn’t need to be, she’s still so young.”
“It ended up being one of those ‘don’t meet your idol’ moments,” Adele later said. “The saddest thing was that I was such a big Blur fan growing up. But it was sad, and I regret hanging out with him. … None of it was right. None of it suited my record… He said I was insecure, when I’m the least insecure person I know. I was asking his opinion about my fears, about coming back with a child involved — because he has a child — and then he calls me insecure?”
Damon later denied that he said that, per NME. “What happened was I didn’t speak to anybody about Adele… I did have a conversation with my mate, and it wasn’t in the most private space. Somebody definitely overheard it, but took very, very small details from it and cobbled them all together and presented it as something I said. “Insecure… I never called her insecure. I found when I was hanging out with her that her openness was her great strength. And clearly that was something she was channeling into her music, and that’s what we talked about.”