The latest song from acclaimed Chinese pop singer Dao Lang has been streamed billions of times despite listeners debating over what its lyrics truly mean.
A mysterious track: Dao Lang, 52, took a hiatus from music for over a decade before re-emerging with his new album, “There Are Few Folk Songs,” on July 19. The album features the enigmatic track “Luosha Haishi” (“Luocha Kingdom”), which quickly became a sensation on various social media platforms following its release. Due to the song’s popularity, countless netizens have engaged in online discussions to debate its meaning and significance.
Ties to a satirical story: Dao Lang’s viral song has the same title as a well-known story in Pu Songling’s short story collection “Liaozhai Zhiyi,” which was published in 1766. All 11 songs in Dao Lang’s new album are purportedly based on Pu’s works.
“Luocha Haishi” follows a Chinese businessman named Ma Ji who discovers that people in the fictional state of Luocha have three eyes, two noses and reversed ears. In the story, which is considered to be satirical, these features are considered attractive to the residents of the state.
What’s in the lyrics: The song’s cryptic lyrics have not only caught the attention of music enthusiasts, but also sparked theories about its intended target. Lines such as “That Don Kee does not know that he is a donkey, That Scarlet does not know that she is a whore” and “He sees that things are upside down in the country of Luocha,” in particular, have stirred intrigue.
While some listeners have interpreted the metaphorical undertones as veiled political satire, others consider the song to be a veiled response to criticism from rival singers. The song’s refrain, “Before speaking, they turn around,” has drawn comparisons to the dramatic chair-turning moments of popular talent shows, leading some to speculate about a potential connection to the music industry. Meanwhile, music insiders have suggested that Dao Lang’s reputation as a broad-minded artist contradicts the notion of a purely vindictive track.