When Maroon 5 decided to title their upcoming album Red Pill Blues, they were trying to draw a connection to the Matrix film series, where a red pill is offered to protagonists with the promise of enlightenment, or “seeing the world for what it really is.” Unfortunately, the term has been co-opted since the film’s release; so-called “men’s rights activists” and “alt-right” trolls (read: Nazis) have Shanghai’d the phrase to refer to introducing their brand of seductive hate by means of backdoor social engineering in forums and on social media. According to an interview with The Huffington Post, this has disappointed the band themselves, as they want nothing to do with such shenanigans.
The exploits of self-declared “MRAs” have legendarily brought ridicule upon them; their attempted boycott of Mad Max: Fury Road was widely mocked as being a prime example of male entitlement and the success of the film in spite of it pretty much shows how effective they really are — which is to say, not at all.
That hasn’t stopped the “red pill” term from gaining the ugly association with their antics, a fact which has caused Maroon 5’s self-described “hardcore feminists” some consternation. Unfortunately, by the time they found out that the title might be taken as a statement of solidarity, it was too late in the process to change. “We didn’t really understand the whole men’s rights thing,” their guitarist, James Valentine, explained.
“We’re like, ‘Oh man, of course, like 2017 is the worst.’ We were talking about the scene in ‘The Matrix’ ― do you take the red pill or the blue pill? And the fact that seeing the world for what it is in 2017 can be kind of rough…. Hopefully, everyone knows from all of our pasts that from our statements on the issue and our actions in the past ― that we are all hardcore feminists in the band. So that’s a horrible association, ugh, to have. The internet trolls have to ruin everything.”
The band’s publicist also released a statement which read, “The title references a term popularized in ‘The Matrix.’ It was never the band’s intention to reference anything else. The band is shocked that this has even come up.”
Red Pill Blues is due out this Friday, November 3.