Cover songs can often be hit and miss, with some going on to even surpass the original in terms of accessibility and popularity (e.g. Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’). However, it seems as though Taylor Swift’s cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘September’ won’t be ranking on any best-of lists any time soon, as least according to the song’s writer.
Back in April, Taylor Swift released her Spotify Singles live album, which just so happened to contain a cover version of Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1978 classic ‘September’. Of course, the track didn’t quite feature the funk vibe that the original did, rather, it was a slowed-down, banjo-filled number which harkened back to Swift’s days as a country-pop singer.
While dedicated fans of Taylor Swift ate the cover up, there was one person who definitely wasn’t a fan, and that was Allee Willis, the co-writer of the original track.
Check out Taylor Swift’s cover of ‘September’:
As Billboard reports, Willis, who wrote the track alongside Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White and Al McKay, had originally released a glowing statement full of approval for the cover, which she subsequently rescinded.
However, while speaking at a performance in Detroit on Friday night, the 70-year-old musician, who is set to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame next month, let her real feelings be known.
“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,'” Allee Willis said.
Well thanks for this quote pic.twitter.com/ifod0m4k1u
— Jehlé | rep tour London and Nash (@mustlikeme4me) April 13, 2018
“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 continued. “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.”
Notably, Taylor Swift’s cover of the track also changes the opening line from the “21st night of September” to the 28th of the month, something which Willis admitted she took umbrage with. However, she conceded that “everyone has a right to do with a song what they please, so go on with your own bad self, Taylor Swift.”
“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,” Willis concluded. “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.”
While Taylor Swift is yet to reply to this criticism, we doubt that Allee Willis will be too fazed by any response that comes her way.