Taylor Swift found herself on the receiving end of the internet’s ire last month when she released a bland and unnecessary cover of Earth, Wind & Fire‘s 1978 disco-funk classic, “September”. On Friday night, one of the song’s co-writers became the latest critic to add her voice to chorus—and she did so in hilarious fashion.
Allee Willis, whose resume also includes a Grammy Award for the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, a Tony Award nomination for The Color Purple, and an Emmy Award nomination for the Friends theme “I’ll Be There For You”, made her comments during a performance at the City Theatre in her hometown of Detroit. Billboard reports that the songwriter, who co-wrote “September” with Earth, Wind & Fire’s Al McKay and Maurice White, offered what could at best be described as extremely lukewarm praise of Swift’s rendition.
“On the same day things happened in Syria, the FBI broke into Michael Cohen’s office… the worst thing that happened as far as the Internet was concerned on this 449th day of all of our brains feeling like they’ve been hurled back and forth like squash balls, the top-trending topic on Twitter was the Taylor Swift cut of ‘September,'” Willis reportedly said. “I didn’t really think she did a horrible job. Yes, I felt it was as lethargic as a drunk turtle dozing under a sunflower after ingesting a bottle of Valium, and I thought it had all the build of a one-story motel, but, I mean, the girl didn’t kill anybody. She didn’t run over your foot. She just cut a very calm and somewhat boring take of one of the peppiest, happiest, most popular songs in history.”
Willis also explained that she originally found out about Swift’s cover a few hours before it was released. At her publicist’s behest, the songwriter released a premature statement complimenting the cover, only to rescind it after giving the tune a listen.
“I was thrilled Taylor Swift cut ‘September,'” Willis told the audience. “I’m imagining she’s going to give it a kind of jagged, ‘Shake It Off’ kind of feel and it’s gonna be great. So I got to sleep happy and excited, but by the time I wake up–on Friday the 13th, I might add–the Internet was already a 28-alarm fire.”
Still, Willis was honored that Swift chose to cover one of her songs, even if she did have some issues with a few of her lyrical changes.
“Everyone has a right to do with a song what they please, so go on with your own bad self, Taylor Swift,” Willis added. “I’m honored you’d choose to do my song and that it meant enough to you that you wanted to personalize it to the goddamn 28th night of September, that you wanted to cover it with banjo… and that you changed the sacred ba-de-ya to the more Caucasian ah-ah-ah and make it sound more like a field of daffodils than a Soul Train line.”
Of course, Willis couldn’t share these thoughts without offering up her own version of “September”, which she explained was a song that “has kept this Detroiter shaking it up and off for four fat decades.”
Swift recorded her version of “September” for a Spotify Singles release. Give it a listen below and compare it to Earth, Wind & Fire’s original.
Taylor Swift – “September” (Earth, Wind & Fire cover)
Earth, Wind & Fire – “September”
[H/T – Billboard]