Latest Newsletter🍵 Biden awards Asian artistsRead


K-pop boy group Epex’s new song under fire for reference to Nazi pogrom Kristallnacht

  • Twitter is in a frenzy over K-pop boy group EPEX’s new song “Anthem of Teen Spirit,” which makes direct reference to the Nazi-led massacre, or pogrom, known as Kristallnacht.

  • Kristallnacht, also called “Crystal Night,” “Night of Broken Glass or the November pogrom, was an event where Nazis spurred on violent anti-Jewish riots, leading to the destruction of hundreds of synagogues, Jewish religious artifacts, Jewish businesses, homes and schools as well as the murder of 91 Jews and the arrest of 30,000 others to be sent to concentration camps.

  • The EPEX song includes the lyrics, “I see them burning raw. Crystal Night is coming.”

  • The outfits used in the group’s stage performances have also been criticized for resembling Nazi uniforms.

Asian America Daily - in under 5 minutes

Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories, to your inbox daily, for free!

Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive

K-pop boy group EPEX dropped their third mini-album “Prelude of Anxiety Chapter 1: 21st Century Boys,” yesterday, and their new title track “Anthem of Teen Spirit” is stirring up controversy on Twitter for referencing a Nazi massacre. 

“Kristallnacht,” also known as “Crystal Night,” “Night of Broken Glass” or the November pogrom, occurred on Nov. 9 and 10 in 1938. At the time, Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old German-born Polish Jew, assassinated German diplomat Ernst vom Rath for deporting his family, triggering two days of Nazi-led riots targeting Jews in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. Hundreds of synagogues were wrecked, while religious artifacts were desecrated. Approximately 7,500 Jewish businesses, homes and schools were plundered. The attacks led to the death of 91 Jews and the arrest of 30,000 men sent to concentration camps.

Nazis would call this horrific event Kristallnacht, “Crystal Night” or “Night of Broken Glass” because of the shattered windows and glass covering the streets after the riots.

Kpop fans on Twitter were quick to point out that EPEX’s lyrics directly reference “Crystal Night.”

User @huachengfanclub screenshot a moment in the music video where the Crystal Night lyric appears and writes “Epex’s latest tt references a horrible event in german history where Jewish people were terrorized and murdered. please don’t support this song. I’m disgusted and the company + songwriters should apologize. Jewish suffering is not an aesthetic.”

The user further argued that this was not just an ignorant mistake or mistranslation, as the Hangul, or Korean letters, of the lyrics match the exact ones for Kristallnacht. 

Another user @Kpop_Receiptz pointed out the lyrics: “I see them burning raw. Crystal Night is coming,” as well as the stage performance outfits’ similarity to Nazi-style uniforms.

Fans were quick to investigate the songwriters of the track, with one user @giseokbff reaching out directly to one of the credited writers, Albin Nordqvist, a multi-platinum songwriter from Sweden who has written K-pop tracks before.

In a series of tweets, Nordqvist claimed he was only involved with the English demo track that has since been rewritten and that the listeners’ shoutouts were the first he was hearing of the controversial final version.

“Hi Everyone, Alot of fans of EPEX are Currently reaching out to me regarding the Lyrics of their new title track. I’d kindly ask you to reach out to the Agency itself. I’m only involved with the Original English demo which has Been rewritten, not translated. To clarify even further, I have no involvement with the current lyrics or topic. Today is the first day I’ve heard this version. I would also like to ask you to stop messaging me about this on twitter and Insta, I love to reply to people and at this rate I would have to stop. Once again I have nothing to do with the current Lyrics and I am not credited with it either. Please refer to the Agency instead.”

With no official statement from EPEX’s parent company C9 Entertainment yet, Nordqvist’s claims can’t be verified, but it isn’t uncommon for K-pop songs to be outsourced abroad, with the songs written originally in English before being workshopped and reversioned into a Korean language track. Aside from Nordqvist, there appear to be six other songwriters credited on the track as well.

EPEX fans were also quick to defend the group’s members, suggesting they likely had very little to do with the actual creative development and either did not know about the lyrics’ translation or had zero say in visual stylings of the music video and outfits.

User @aminwangg wrote, “I will never forgive c9 for doing this to epex, there are many shitty companies out there but c9 took it step further, they are the one to blame, they make decisions and made this song, how can they sabotage their own rookie group, didn’t they learn from lockdown?”

Users like @lexieonpriv are planning to send out an email template to C9 Entertainment writing, “DEAR ZENITHS AND NON-ZENITHS: I hope you all understand that these are not the EPEX members’ fault. Please help us reach out C9 Entertainment so this should be addressed. Our fanbase accounts will release a template soon. I hope you will help us.

Feature Image via Stone Music Entertainment

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way.  Thank you for everyone's support. We love you all and can't appreciate you guys enough.

Support NextShark

Mastercard, Visa, Amex, Discover, Paypal