Red Pill Blues

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Red Pill Blues
A series of photos of the band member's faces with cartoonish filters added to them.
Studio album by Maroon 5
Released November 3, 2017 (2017-11-03)
Studio Conway Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)
Genre
Length 42:09
Label
Producer
Maroon 5 chronology
Singles
(2015)
Red Pill Blues
(2017)
Singles from Red Pill Blues
  1. "Don't Wanna Know"
    Released: October 11, 2016
  2. "Cold"
    Released: February 14, 2017
  3. "What Lovers Do"
    Released: August 30, 2017
  4. "Wait"
    Released: January 16, 2018
  5. "Girls Like You"
    Released: June 5, 2018[5]

Red Pill Blues[6] is the sixth studio album by American pop rock band Maroon 5. It was released on November 3, 2017, by 222 and Interscope Records. This is the band's first release to feature multi-instrumentalist Sam Farrar as an official member after becoming a touring member in 2012. The title of the album refers to the science fiction term of taking the red pill or the blue pill, which originated from the 1999 sci-fi film The Matrix.[6] The album is the follow-up to their fifth studio album V (2014) and features guest appearances from ASAP Rocky, SZA, LunchMoney Lewis and Julia Michaels.

Although the album received mixed reviews from critics, it peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200. The album includes the singles: "Don't Wanna Know", "Cold" (both of which are only on the deluxe versions of the album), What Lovers Do", "Wait", and "Girls Like You". "What Lovers Do" peaked within the top ten in twenty-five countries including Australia, Canada and the United States. The fifth single from the album, "Girls Like You", was released in a new version featuring rapper Cardi B and peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 as well as in the top five in Australia and Canada. The band embarked on the Red Pill Blues Tour in support of the album in 2018.

Background[edit]

After touring in support of their fifth studio album V (2014) for over three years, Maroon 5 began planning a follow-up to V. After embarking on a short rescheduled headlining tour in North America in March 2017, the band began to finish recording new material for a sixth album at Conway Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California. The band began posting teaser gifs and videos on their social media accounts of members in the studio in late March.[7]

At the 2017 Teen Choice Awards, held on August 13, 2017, Maroon 5 was honored the Decade Award. In his acceptance speech, frontman Adam Levine confirmed that their sixth album would be released in November.[8] Levine later confirmed this in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music radio station Beats 1.[9] On October 4, 2017, the band revealed the name Red Pill Blues and announced the pre-order for the album on October 6.[10]

Artwork[edit]

The album cover art is inspired by filters featured on the mobile app Snapchat.[11] The cover depicts all seven members of Maroon 5 pictured on polaroid photographs with a filter on their faces. "We all use Snapchat, and the filters have become a huge part of the culture", frontman Adam Levine told Billboard in an October 2017 interview.[12] "We thought it would be funny to take some more straight-ahead band photos and sprinkle in a little fun." Guitarist James Valentine added by saying "It's like, a part of the zeitgeist now. Adam [Levine] and his wife, they just love trading photos when we're touring and stuff. They're always doing those filter faces to each other, so I think it rose out of that. Adam always has fun with that."

Singles[edit]

The album was preceded by two commercial stand-alone releases, which were later included on the deluxe edition of the album.[13] The first stand-alone single was "Don't Wanna Know", featuring American rapper Kendrick Lamar, was released to digital retailers on October 11, 2016 as the lead single, and charted at No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Adult Top 40, Adult Contemporary, and Hot 100 Airplay charts.[14] A music video for "Don't Wanna Know" premiered on October 14 on The Today Show.[15]

A second stand-alone single, "Cold", featuring American rapper Future, was released on February 14, 2017 as the second single,[16] and charted at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 5 on the Adult Top 40 chart.[14] The music video for "Cold" premiered on February 15.[17]

"What Lovers Do", featuring American R&B singer SZA was released by the band on August 30, 2017, as the third single from the album.[18] A lyric video was uploaded on September 15, 2017, while the music video for the song premiered on September 28.[19][20]

James Valentine announced on Twitter that "Wait" would be the fourth single from the album.[21] The song was officially released to US contemporary hit radio on January 16, as the album's second single.[22]

A remix version of "Girls Like You", featuring Cardi B served as the fifth single from the album on June 5, 2018.[5] The song peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

Promotional singles[edit]

"Help Me Out", featuring American singer-songwriter Julia Michaels, was released on October 6, 2017, as an instant grat along with the pre-order of the album.[10] Another song, titled "Whiskey", featuring American rapper ASAP Rocky, was released to digital retailers on October 19, 2017. Before becoming the fourth single, "Wait" was initially released as a promotional single on October 31.[23]

Tour[edit]

Maroon 5 announced dates of the Red Pill Blues Tour on October 26, 2017,[24] with Julia Michaels as the tour's special guest. The tour began on March 1, 2018 in Quito, Ecuador.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic58/100[25]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[26]
Entertainment WeeklyB[2]
Financial Times3/5 stars[27]
The Guardian3/5 stars[28]
Pitchfork4.8/10[29]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[30]
Slant Magazine2/5 stars[31]
The Times2/5 stars[32]

On Metacritic, Red Pill Blues has a score of 58 from eight reviews, indicating "generally mixed or average reviews" from music critics.[25] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic wrote that after setting aside the album's title and cover, Red Pill Blues can be taken as a "sleek, assured affair, one that sustains a seductive neon-streaked mood from beginning to end". He found their "modern sheen" to contain "strong song foundations" which in turn makes it not "play like a collective rhythmic and melodic hook in search of an ear: each cut unfolds with its own internal logic, with the different textures playing nicely off each other".[26] Entertainment Weekly's Madison Vain described the album as the "best and most cohesive set of the decade" due to the group collaborating with a "murderers’ row of Hot 100 collaborators" which "ensures there's hardly a stale moment".[2] Rolling Stone's Jon Dolan found Adam Levine capably nauncing the "Top 40 old-soul navigating whatever the pop-music moment throws his way" role as he "works well alongside young talent to prove himself as a "pliant star of Jacksonian ease and Stingly self-assurance".[30] Taylor Weatherby of Billboard wrote that the record "presents the most electronic production the band has seen to date" in the "classic Maroon 5 fashion" through "supplementing the synthy bass lines with irresistible beats and smooth vocals", while commending the collaborations and the lyrical portrayals of "relationship talk".[33] Ludovic Hunter-Tilney from the Financial Times said that although feminist listeners "may struggle to discern solidarity" in certain suggestive track couplets, the album still "makes its way through the minefield" since its "smooth high vocals and catchy tunes" gives the songs "a degree of charm" while its "deft production lends depth to the slick music".[27]

Jayson Greene of Pitchfork affirmed the group's "shrewd and easy touch with soft rock" in "Best 4 U", but felt that the album's "utter lack of libido" made it "so difficult to even finish" especially since "soft rock and sex have a tricky relationship, and so do sex and Hot 100 pop".[29] Michael Hann from The Guardian noted Maroon 5's continuation of producing "impeccably structured pop songs" with "Help Me Out", but felt that Red Pill Blues was not an R&B album "in any remotely experimental way".[28] Writing for The Times, Will Hodgkinson commented that despite the "vacuity of the music and the words" whose former was "made up of noises from Maroon 5's pop machine" and the latter were "unconvincing expressions of love and sensuality delivered passionlessly by Levine", the record was nevertheless "unpretentious and actually quite fun".[32] Slant Magazine's Zachary Hoskins mentioned that Maroon 5 has "rebranded themselves as Daryl Hall and six John Oates—or at least a watered-down Chromeo" with the record's release whose "retro sound suits them", yet felt that it still has its share of "bland, underachieving grist for suburban shopping centers and rhythmic pop radio" with Levine's "digitally augmented vocal acrobatics" still likely to "irritate as ingratiate".[31]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, Red Pill Blues debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, with 122,000 album-equivalent units, of which 94,000 were pure album sales, becoming the band's sixth top ten album in the country.[34] By the end of the year, Red Pill Blues had accumulated 596,000 album-equivalent units in the country, with 185,000 being pure sales.[35] On May 17, 2018, Red Pill Blues was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for combined sales and album-equivalent units of over 1,000,000 units in the United States.[36]

It is also Maroon 5's sixth top ten album in Australia, opening at number seven on the ARIA Albums Chart.[37] The album entered the Canadian Albums Chart at number two, becoming their sixth top five entry in Canada.[38] Elsewhere, it debuted at number six on the New Zealand Albums Chart,[39] and at number 12 on the UK Albums Chart.[40]

As of July 2018, the album sold over 1,097,000 copies worldwide.

Track listing[edit]

Red Pill Blues – Standard edition[41]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Best 4 U"
  • Bunetta
  • Afterhrs
  • Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy
3:59
2."What Lovers Do" (featuring SZA)
3:19
3."Wait"
  • Ryan
  • Passovoy[a]
3:10
4."Lips on You"
  • Puth
  • Evigan
3:36
5."Bet My Heart"
  • Levine
  • Ryan
  • Hindlin
  • Phil Shaouy
  • Ryan
  • Phil Paul
  • Passavoy
3:16
6."Help Me Out" (with Julia Michaels)
3:13
7."Who I Am" (featuring LunchMoney Lewis)3:03
8."Whiskey" (featuring ASAP Rocky)
  • Ryan
  • Hindlin
3:30
9."Girls Like You"
3:35
10."Closure"
  • Levine
  • Ryan
  • Hindlin
  • Malik
  • Shaouy
  • Ryan
  • Paul
  • Passavoy
11:28
Total length:42:09

Notes

  • ^a signifies an additional producer
  • ^b signifies a co-producer

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Maroon 5

Additional personnel

  • The Arcade – songwriting, production (credited individually as Kurtis McKenzie and Jon Mills for songwriting)
  • Afterhrs – production
  • Nick Bailey – production
  • Alex Ben-Abdallah – songwriting
  • Ben Billions – production
  • Benny Blanco – songwriting, production (credited as Benjamin Levin for songwriting)
  • Julien Bunetta – songwriting, production
  • Dustin Bushnell – songwriting
  • Cirkut – production
  • Diplo – songwriting, production
  • Jason Evigan – production
  • Ian Franzino – songwriting
  • Teddy Geiger – songwriting
  • James Alan Ghaleb – songwriting
  • Andrew Haas – songwriting
  • Brittany Talia Hazzard – songwriting
  • King Henry – songwriting, production (credited as Henry Agincourt Allen for songwriting)
  • Alexander Izquerdio – songwriting
  • Jacob Kasher Hindlin – songwriting, production
  • J Kash – executive production
  • Kendrick Lamar – guest vocals, songwriting (credited as Kendrick Duckworth for songwriting)
  • Louie Lastic – production
  • LunchMoney Lewis – guest vocals, songwriting (credited as Gamal Lewis for songwriting)
  • Ammar Malik – songwriting
  • Julia Michaels – guest vocals, songwriting
  • Ryan Ogren – production
  • Oladayo Olatunji – songwriting
  • OzGo – songwriting, production (credited as Oscar Görres for songwriting)
  • Noah Passavoy – production
  • Phil Paul – songwriting, production (credited as Phil Shaouy for songwriting)
  • Victor Rådström – songwriting
  • Charlie Puth – songwriting, production
  • Ricky Reed – songwriting, production
  • ASAP Rocky – guest vocals, songwriting (credited as Rakim Mayers for songwriting)
  • John Ryan – songwriting, production
  • Tinashe Sibanda – songwriting
  • Gian Stone – songwriting
  • Elina Stridh – songwriting
  • SZA – guest vocals, songwriting (credited as Solána Imani Rowe for songwriting)
  • TMS – songwriting, production (credited individually as Peter Kelleher, Tom Barnes, and Ben Kohn for songwriting)
  • Justin Tranter – songwriting
  • Jared Watson – songwriting
  • Isaiah Tejada – keyboards, synthesizers
  • Kenneth Whalum - tenor saxophone on “Closure”

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017–18) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[47] 7
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[48] 31
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[49] 47
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[50] 31
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[51] 2
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[52] 9
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[53] 5
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[54] 21
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[55] 24
French Albums (SNEP)[56] 24
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[57] 44
Irish Albums (IRMA)[58] 21
Italian Albums (FIMI)[59] 15
Japanese Albums (Billboard Japan)[60] 6
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[61] 10
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[39] 6
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[62] 8
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[63] 33
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[64] 21
Scottish Albums (OCC)[65] 12
Slovak Albums (IFPI)[66] 8
South Korean Albums (Gaon)[67] 19
South Korean International Albums (Gaon)[68] 1
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[69] 14
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[70] 12
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[71] 21
UK Albums (OCC)[72] 12
US Billboard 200[34] 2

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Austria (IFPI Austria)[73] Gold 7,500*
Canada (Music Canada)[74] Gold 40,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[75] Gold 10,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[76] Platinum 15,000^
Sweden (GLF)[77] Gold 20,000^
United States (RIAA)[36] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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