Rookie boy group EPEX released their third mini-album, Prelude of Anxiety Chapter 1. ’21st Century Boys,’ with the title song “Anthem of Teen Spirit”.
EPEX 3rd EP Album Prelude of Anxiety Chapter 1. ‘21st Century Boys’ Album Release
— EPEX Official (@the_EPEX) April 11, 2022
Upon first listening to the song, it seems like your typical edgy, angsty type of K-Pop boy group concept; however, upon looking deeper into the music video’s themes and the lyrics of the song, it becomes clear that it was inspired by something terrible and tragic.
The music video is violent and filled with gun imagery, which can be disturbing on its own. The lyrics, however, take things even further with the mention of a “crystal night“:
Boom (Hey, yeah)
I see them burning raw
Crystal night is coming
Click, clack, brrr, like
Boom (Hey, yeah)
This is a battlefield
Back up, back up
Chase and flee (Oh)
— Lyrics from “Anthem of Teen Spirit”
Kristallnacht, German for “Crystal Night,” was a real event that happened not too long before World War II broke out. It refers to the nights of November 9-10, 1938, when a violent riot broke out throughout Nazi Germany against the Jewish people. Jewish homes, schools, hospitals, and other buildings were ransacked and demolished, leading to the destruction of over 7,000 businesses and the arrests of over 30,000 Jewish men, who ended up in concentration camps.
The estimated number of deaths from the event ranges from 91 to nearly 700, and Kristallnacht is widely considered to have been the prelude that led to the Holocaust. The term “crystal night” was used to reference the shards of broken glass that littered the streets from the destroyed Jewish businesses.
It’s understandable why using such a tragic event for a music concept would be condemned by the public, and fans are directing their anger and frustration to EPEX’s company, C9 Entertainment. Between the lyrics, music video, and the outfits chosen for the concept, fans are convinced that the company intended to use Kristallnacht as a theme for the comeback.
This isn’t the first time that EPEX’s concepts have created outrage among K-Pop fans. They debuted last year with the album titled, Bipolar Pt. 1: Prelude of Anxiety, which understandably made many people uncomfortable and upset over the use of mental illness as an aesthetic.
C9 Entertainment has not yet released a statement about the backlash they’ve been receiving over EPEX’s comeback.