In a controversy over the lyrics of a K-Pop group, fans are demanding an apology, not from the group, but from their management group and their record label.
On Monday, the group Epex released their third EP, Prelude of Anxiety Chapter 1. ’21st Century Boys’, and the album’s first single “Anthem of Teen Spirit”. The song’s lyrics describe “sugar-coated evil”, according to the translation of lyrics site Genius, and use “crystals” as a central metaphor. In the pre-chorus, the lyrics are “Tonight the crystals / That protected us are shattered / Before you fell prey / Yeah, pull the trigger, click, click, brrr, brrr.”
But it’s the chorus that raised eyebrows among K-Pop fans: “Boom / I see them burning raw / Crystal night is coming / click, clack, brr, like / Boom / This is a battlefield / Back up, back up / Chase and run away.”
The expression “crystal night” is similar to Kristallnachtwhich literally translates to “crystal night”, but is also known as “night of broken glass”. Kristallnacht was a Nazi pogrom in 1938, where the windows of Jewish-owned businesses and synagogues were smashed as authorities looked on, without intervening.
More than 90 people were killed in the pogroms that night, and hundreds more died of abuse and suicide after the attack. Over 7,000 Jewish-owned businesses and 267 synagogues were destroyed throughout Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland.
Although there is nothing explicitly anti-Semitic in the lyrics, the original Korean lyrics use the same phrasing for “Crystal Night” that was used to describe the historic event. Kristallnacht. Fans also cite what some believe to be Nazi uniforms in the song’s music video as a reference to the pogrom.
The video features scenes of Epex on a shooting range, in jail, and with guns pointed at them. One scene features one of the band members behind a prison door, which reads ‘The heresy of heresies was common sense’, a quote from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.
Unlike other controversial lyric controversies, fans aren’t taking the band to task, but their record label and management group, C9 Entertainment. None of the band members have writing credit on the song and, according to the Los Angeles Times, K-Pop acts are much more heavily managed than American stars. The management companies control the whole image of the groups and do not hesitate to swap members if they no longer meet the requirements.
Fans took to the hashtag #C9_APOLOGIZE on Twitter to demand the company apologize and change the song’s lyrics. On Tuesday, the hashtag began trending under Twitter’s Entertainment tab.
“They are not members” [fault]! This is about entertainment, songwriters and producers,” @KimSuJi117 tweeted. “If you want to calm down, you can blame Entertainment, the songwriters and the producers!”
“As a German, I am deeply shocked. I don’t know how someone who knows what these two words mean could write something like this.
epex has nothing to do with this as they didn’t write the song themselves but the company and songwriters did,” @btsarmystweets wrote.
“@OfficialC9ent also be like: ‘oH we have great uniforms! THINK THAT’S FUN??” @anjalixy wroteas well as comparisons of the outfits Epex is wearing in the video with actual Nazi uniforms.
“not to mention how much it looks like a certain other thing
like it’s on their uniforms?!” @dannkingmaker respondedas well as a close-up shot of the badge the band members are wearing in the video.
Newsweek has contacted C9 Entertainment for comment.