Lady Gaga’s latest album will be released on the mainland three years after her music was banned for vulgarity.
The singer’s third album Artpop is now available for preorder in China, more than two months after it reached the top of the US Billboard charts in November.
“I’m so excited!!!!” the 27-year-old pop icon wrote in a tweet last week. “The Chinese Government approved ARTPOP to be released in China with all 15 songs! Next I hope I can come to perform!”
While censors did not alter the lyrics of the songs released in China, the Chinese version of the album cover was altered to cover the singer’s bare legs with a pair of black tights, and a blue ball she was sitting behind was enlarged to hide her naked body. The title of the song Sexxx Dreams was also changed to X Dreams.
Online commentators unanimously voiced their dislike of the new cover, noting that it was the same as the version released in the Middle East.
“Although I hate this cover, she has no choice if she wants to come to China,” one weibo user wrote.
“Sales will definitely be hit because of the cover,” wrote another. “Why not Photoshop clothes or Photoshop the ball right up to her neck?!”
But loyal fans said they would still buy several copies of the album to support the artist and were excited at the possible prospect of their idol performing on the mainland one day.
The move comes three years after the Ministry of Culture blacklisted 100 pop songs to preserve “national cultural security”. Lady Gaga was the main target, with six songs from her Born This Way album banned, including Judas and The Edge of Glory, followed by pop star Katy Perry’s Last Friday night.
Perry made her mainland debut at the Beijing National Indoor Stadium earlier this month, hinting that Lady Gaga might be given the green light for performing on the mainland soon.
But fans were sceptical on weibo. “When Lady Gaga agrees to wear cotton leggings, China will welcome you,” one wrote.