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Ai Weiwei Set To Release Heavy Metal Album

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Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei announced plans on Monday to release a heavy-metal album that he said would "express his opinion" just as he does with his art.

The burly and bearded Ai said 81 days in secretive detention in 2011, which sparked an international outcry, triggered his foray into music.

"When I was arrested, they (his guards) would often ask me to sing songs, but because I wasn't familiar with music, I was embarrassed," Ai, 55, said in a telephone interview. "It helped me pass the time very easily.

"All I could sing was Chinese People's Liberation Army songs," Ai said. "After that I thought: when I'm out, I'd like to do something related to music."

A court in September upheld a $2.4 million fine against Ai for tax evasion, paving the way for jail if he does not pay. Ai maintains the charges were trumped up in retaliation for his criticism of the government...

Well my interest is piqued anyway

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I have mixed feelings about this. I have tons of respect for Ai Weiwei. He may not be the most influential artist in the art world, but he probably is the most influential artist in the real world. A year ago or so he was voted "the most powerful artist in the world" and for good reason. I have tons of respect for how he's relentlessly stood up against the Chinese government, dispite being suddenly thrown in jail and constantly watched and threatened.

But, he's not a musician. He's also 55. That's generally not a great age to record your first metal album and an even worse age to learn music and record your first metal album.

He's insanely talented, intelligent, and creative, so he may just pull off something unique enough to work. But, I'm honestly afraid he's going in over his head. He has quite the reputation to lose. He's seen as one of the top artists in the world and a new amateurish venture could really remove some of his stature in the art world.

Regardless, I couldn't be more curious to hear what he does.

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The video for the single is out.

And...uh...it's a song.

It's definitely not like anything I've heard. But...yikes. I think artists should experiment with new mediums and such, but they don't always need to make it public.

But, it's interesting. That's likely what he was going for. So maybe it is a success. I think it's one of things I need to stand back and not judge. Looking at it from a musicians point of view it's cringe worthy, but I don't think anybody expected him to show off his musicianship that he suddenly thinks he has.

I tried posting the link, but I'm on my phone and for some reason it won't let me copy the normal link. The song is called Dumbass. It's easy to find in Google.

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Mandarin is not the language choice of most metal songs.

Is this taking it too far off topic?

I have an infinite amount of respect for Weiwei. Loud voices often come without articulate minds behind them and certainly Weiwei has the ability to translate cultural consciousness through his art, writing and activism.

Weiwei recently wrote an article for the Guardian on the NSA surveillance scandal, comparing the US to China. I feel that although the words could have been written by almost anybody, having the "voice" of Weiwei coupled with his personal experience of such matters makes it that much more powerful. I perhaps wish that my dream anti-totalitarianism debate would have been a shared podium of Hitchens and Ai. Maybe Hitch wouldn't be satisfied and left somewhat defused with anybody agreeing with him though. No room for debate!

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