Last month, Maroon 5 announced their new album would be called Red Pill Blues, based on the iconic scene in The Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo a choice between the red and blue pills, signifying remaining in the dream world or waking up to the real one. Unfortunately for the band, they’re not the only group for whom that scene was particularly compelling.
As the band have recently learned—much to their dismay—the words “red pill” have some unfortunate connotations in 2017: they’ve become synonymous with anti-feminist men’s rights advocates, who use the term “red pilling” to describe the process of waking up to the evil, pervasive influence that feminism and feminists supposedly have on the world.
As explained by the band’s guitarist James Valentine in a new Huffington Post interview, Maroon 5 were absolutely not trying to align themselves, or even comment on, the men’s rights movement. “We didn’t really understand the whole men’s rights thing,” Valentine said.
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.
“We’re like, ‘Oh man, of course, like 2017 is the worst,’” he continued. “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 … We had no idea about the association with men’s rights. 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.”
When asked if the band considered changing the title, Valentine said that it’s probably too late – the title is out there, for better or for worse. “It’s out there and I think it’s maybe too late … I think maybe we can reclaim [it] for the good side.”