“Red pill” is the casual colloquialism for the movement of internet-dwelling men who drink too much Mountain Dew and are very angry about feminism, which is apparently the cause for society’s ills. The name is inspired by the famous choice offered in The Matrix, where Morpheus offers two pills — red and blue — to Neo, with the promise that the red will reveal the world as it really is. It is a silly phrase to apply to garden variety sexism, which is what made it a little strange when Maroon 5 revealed the title of their upcoming album: Red Pill Blues. Were the boys behind “This Love” pledging their solidarity with the frustrated young men of Reddit? Was Adam Levine declaring that despite being a firmly-chiseled sex god, he’s got a bone or two to pick with the ladies?
Well, not entirely so. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine explained what happened: They just had no idea “red pill” has a new, negative connotation when they pulled the title from The Matrix. “We didn’t really understand the whole men’s rights thing,” he said.
“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 … 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.”
Did they think about changing it? “It’s out there and I think it’s maybe too late … I think maybe we can reclaim [it] for the good side.”
James, buddy…….. You can’t. Red Pill Blues is out Friday.
This article originally appeared on Spin.