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Damon Albarn and Taylor Swift’s discussion on twitter about the lyrics of their songs

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As Blur’s frontman (and pretty face), Damon Albarn became a star for writing songs about England – witty, melodic, omnivorous character studies of styles like “Parklife” and “Country House,” as well as Oasis’ blunt anthem, Helped define the raucous Britpop scene of the 1990s.

But Albarn’s latest solo album is about a different place: Iceland, where he became a citizen last year, decades after his first visit in 1997. Filled with slow-paced ballads that allow Albarn to softly croak amidst shimmering instrumental textures, “The Nearer the Mountain,” as he puts it, “a purer stream,” began in 2019 when he assembled a group from his home in Iceland. Orchestra, to “tune in to the view from the living room window”.

@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.

“A person with a trombone would focus on getting over the clouds in the mountains,” he said. “Others will play with the waves.” The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the conference to end early.

But Albarn — also known for other projects, including numerous stage productions and the virtual band Gorillaz — continues to shape the band’s recordings into songs.

Now, he’s bringing the album to Walt Disney Concert Hall on Monday night for a one-off concert, where he’ll play those songs (and some old ones) on piano, accompanied by a string section. Over coffee on the roof of his hotel last week — his second trip to Los Angeles in two months after a November trip as part of a Netflix-related project with Gorillaz — Albarn, 53, discusses his dual citizenship, the upcoming 25th anniversary of Blur’s self-titled 1997 LP and the legacy of the band’s biggest hit in the US, “Song 2.”

Historically, how did you enjoy Los Angeles?

It’s actually been my least favorite place in the last 30 years. But I realized it was because I never really left West Hollywood. Last time I was here, I did some work in Malibu and Silver Lake – I learned to drive during lockdown – and the city just opened up. I found there was another side to LA: less self-conscious, less beast-feeding. The showbiz is missing.

Your show at Disney is you playing the piano. Whose playing inspired you?

Thelonious Monk is my favorite. I was lucky enough to be with Ruben Gonzalez and just watch him play. It’s a very nice thing to be able to do something that doesn’t require any magnification. But it’s actually hard, playing a whole concert on the piano. It’s not hard to play in a band.

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