Ai Weiwei releases album to mock Chinese state-capitalist authoritarian regime
June 22, 2013

He is no musician, but Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei is resorting to music to convey his criticism and mockery of China’s authoritarian state.

On the second anniversary of his 81-day secret detention, Ai on Saturday released his first music album, “The Divine Comedy,” which includes the single “Dumbass.”

The song is meant to reconstruct his detention, which was part of an overall crackdown on dissent in 2011. Ai’s subsequent conviction for tax evasion has been seen by his supporters as punishment for his activism.

On the album Ai sings about his experiences with police and shares his thoughts on China’s current conditions.

Musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou, a friend of Ai, wrote the music for the album, with influences from pop, rock, punk and heavy metal. Ai’s vocals appear to be more speech-making than singing, and the lyrics include obscenities to express his anger at what he sees as a repressive police state.

“I had been thinking about how to recover from the trauma. And I came up with the idea of using music to convey a sentiment that is tremendously secret, and private, to the public,” Ai said last month when “Dumbass” was released as a single.

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