Last month, when Taylor Swift decided to put her own twist on a cookout staple by remixing Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” with a stripped-down country version, the co-writer of the original track Allee Willis was among those giving Taylor her props for the track.
“’September’ was my first hit and favorite song of mine I ever have had the joy of being a part of,” Willis told Billboard after Swift’s version was released. “Taylor Swift is the absolute cherry on top of a very soulful and happy sundae.”
But according to Billboard, Willis was never feeling the track to begin with and made it known during a performance at Detroit’s City Theatre on Friday (May 19th) and in a lengthy explanation, the Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee broke down her sentiments for her audience.
“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,'” said Willis. “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.”
Swift’s cover was met with a mix of responses, seemingly split half way down the middle with the opposition echoing Willis’ statements on Swift’s choice to tone the track down and even switch up a few lyrics.
“I was thrilled Taylor Swift cut ‘September,'” added Willis. “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 …] 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, 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.”