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
ReleasedNovember 3, 2017
Recorded2015–2017
Studio
  • California (Chumba Meadows, The Venice, Glenwood Palace,
  • London, UK (Inner Child Records)
  • Los Angeles (Conway, Westlake, Henson)
  • New York (Electric Lady, Matzah Ball, Sterling Sound)
  • Stockholm, Sweden (Wolf Cousins)
  • Virginia Beach (MixStar)
Genre
Length42:09
Label
Producer
Maroon 5 chronology
Singles
(2015)
Red Pill Blues
(2017)
Maroon 5 studio album chronology
V
(2014)
Red Pill Blues
(2017)
Singles from Red Pill Blues
  1. "Don't Wanna Know"
    Released: October 12, 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: May 30, 2018

Red Pill Blues[5] is the sixth studio album by American band Maroon 5. It was released on November 3, 2017, through 222 and Interscope Records. This is the band's first release to feature multi-instrumentalist Sam Farrar, as an official member after he became a touring member in 2012, and also the last album to feature bassist Mickey Madden, before his departure from the band in 2020, which means this is their only album featured as 7-piece band to date. 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.[5] The album is the follow-up to their fifth studio album V (pronounced: "five") (2014) and features guest appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Julia Michaels, SZA, ASAP Rocky, LunchMoney Lewis and Future.

Red Pill Blues received mixed reviews from music critics, and peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200. The album includes the singles "Don't Wanna Know", "Cold", "What Lovers Do", "Wait", and "Girls Like You". The first two singles, "Don't Wanna Know" and "Cold", are both only included on the album's deluxe edition. The third single "What Lovers Do", peaked within the top ten in twenty-five countries including Australia, Canada and the United States. The album's fourth single "Wait", received moderate success, peaking at number twenty-four in the United States, thirty-five on the Canadian Hot 100, and seventy-nine in the UK Singles. The fifth and final single from the reissued edition of the album "Girls Like You", was released in a new version featuring rapper Cardi B and peaked at number one 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 (2018–2019) in support of the album.

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 recording new material for a sixth album at Conway Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California. The band later posted teaser gifs and videos of members in the studio on their social media accounts in late March.[6]

At the 2017 Teen Choice Awards, held on August 13, 2017, Maroon 5 was honored with the Decade Award. In his acceptance speech, frontman Adam Levine confirmed that their sixth album would be released in November.[7] Levine later confirmed this in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music radio station Beats 1.[8] On October 4, 2017, the band revealed the album's name, Red Pill Blues, and announced the pre-order for the album on October 6.[9][10] Describing the meaning between this album and the band's first album Songs About Jane (2002), Levine said: "I think this album and the first album are probably the most connected. This album seems to me like a cousin to the first album, there’s a relationship kind of like book-ended all the ones in between."[11]

Artwork[edit]

The album cover art for Red Pill Blues was created by American photographer Travis Schneider and is inspired by filters featured on the mobile app Snapchat.[12] 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.[13] "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."

The album's cover art won at the 2018 Shorty Awards for Best Use of Snapchat and the wallpaper promotion for Best Influencer and Celebrity Snapchat Campaign.[14]

Singles[edit]

The album was preceded by two commercial stand-alone releases, which were later included on the deluxe edition of the album.[15] The first stand-alone single was "Don't Wanna Know" featuring American rapper Kendrick Lamar, was released digital retailers on October 12, 2016,[16] and charted at No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Adult Top 40, Adult Contemporary, and Hot 100 Airplay charts.[17] A music video for the song's original version premiered on October 14 on The Today Show.[18]

A second stand-alone single, "Cold" featuring American rapper Future, was released on February 14, 2017,[19] and charted at No. 16 on the Hot 100 and No. 5 on the Adult Top 40 chart.[17] The song's music video premiered the day after, February 15.[20]

"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.[21] A lyric video was uploaded on September 15, 2017,[22] while the music video for the song was released on September 28.[23] The single peaked at number nine on the Hot 100 and became the band's thirteenth top ten hit on the chart.

James Valentine announced on Twitter that "Wait" would be the fourth single from the album.[24] The song was officially released to US contemporary hit radio on January 16, 2018, as the album's fourth single.[25] It peaked at number 24 on the Hot 100.

A remix version of "Girls Like You" featuring Cardi B served as the fifth and final single and was released on May 30, 2018.[26] It was the first single from the re-release of the album and the most successful single. The song peaked at number one on the Hot 100 chart for seven weeks, becoming Maroon 5's fourth and Cardi B's third number-one.[27] It spent 33 weeks in the top 10, tying both with Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" and Post Malone and Swae Lee's "Sunflower" for the longest top 10 run in the chart's archives at the time.[28][29] It became the first pop song to reach number one since "Havana" by Camila Cabello in January 2018.[30] "Girls Like You" set a record for most weeks at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, remaining atop this chart for 36 consecutive weeks.[31]

Promotional singles[edit]

"Help Me Out", featuring American singer-songwriter Julia Michaels, was released on October 6, 2017 as the first promotional single of the album.[32] The second promotional single, "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 the third promotional single on October 31.[33]

Promotion and touring[edit]

Maroon 5 performing live in 2019.

On November 7, 2017, Maroon 5 played a concert at the iHeartRadio Theater in Burbank, California, to commemorate the release of the album.[11][34] On October 26, the band announced they would embark on the Red Pill Blues Tour.[35] The tour began on May 30, 2018 in Tacoma, Washington and ended on December 31, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada, comprising 66 shows. The tour took place in North America from May to October 2018, with Michaels as the tour's opening act.[35] On August 28, 2018, Maroon 5 announced new dates for the tour in 2019 in Australia, Asia and Europe.[36] Artists Cxloe (Australia)[37] and Sigrid (Europe)[38] were announced as the tour's opening acts.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?4.9/10[39]
Metacritic58/100[40]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[41]
Entertainment WeeklyB[2]
Financial Times3/5 stars[42]
The Guardian3/5 stars[43]
Pitchfork4.8/10[44]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[45]
Slant Magazine2/5 stars[46]
The Times2/5 stars[47]

Red Pill Blues received mixed reviews from music critics. On Metacritic, the album has a score of 58 from eight reviews, indicating "generally mixed or average reviews".[40] 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" that 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."[41] 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" that "ensures there's hardly a stale moment."[2] Rolling Stone's Jon Dolan found Adam Levine capably nuancing 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."[45] 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."[48] 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."[42]

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."[44] 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."[43] 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 whose latter was "unconvincing expressions of love and sensuality delivered passionlessly by Levine," the record was nevertheless "unpretentious and actually quite fun."[47] 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 as likely to "irritate as ingratiate."[46]

Accolades[edit]

Year Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2018 Shorty Awards Best Use of Snapchat Won [14]
Best Influencer and Celebrity Snapchat Campaign
2019 Juno Awards International Album of the Year Nominated [49]

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. The album was kept off the top spot by Sam Smith's The Thrill of It All.[50] 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.[51] 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.[52]

It is also Maroon 5's sixth top ten album in Australia, opening at number seven on the ARIA Albums Chart.[53] The album entered the Canadian Albums Chart at number two, becoming their sixth top five entry in Canada.[54] Elsewhere, it debuted at number six on the New Zealand Albums Chart,[55] and at number 12 on the UK Albums Chart.[56]

Track listing[edit]

Standard edition[57]
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
Deluxe edition bonus tracks[58] / Japanese standard edition bonus tracks[59]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
11."Denim Jacket"
3:52
12."Visions"
3:50
13."Don't Wanna Know" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
3:34
14."Cold" (featuring Future)
  • Levine
  • Ryan
  • Hindlin
  • Tranter
  • Shaouy
  • Hindlin
  • Paul
  • Ryan
3:54
Total length:61:01
Standard edition (reissue bonus track)
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
11."Girls Like You" (featuring Cardi B)
  • Cirkut
  • Evigan
3:55
Digital download and streaming edition (bonus tracks)
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
11."Denim Jacket"
  • Levine
  • Ghaleb
  • Kelleher
  • Barnes
  • Kohn
  • Görres
  • Hindlin
  • TMS
  • OzGo
3:52
12."Visions"
  • Levine
  • Ogren
  • Bailey
  • Watson
  • Bushnell
  • Ogren
  • Passavoy
  • Bailey[b]
3:50
13."Plastic Rose"
  • Levine
  • Ghaleb
  • Görres
  • Hindlin
  • OzGo
3:42
14."Don't Wanna Know" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
  • Levine
  • Levin
  • Ryan
  • Hindlin
  • Malik
  • McKenzie
  • Mills
  • Ben-Abdallah
  • Duckworth
  • Blanco
  • The Arcade
  • Lastic
  • Passovoy[a]
3:34
15."Cold" (featuring Future)
  • Levine
  • Ryan
  • Hindlin
  • Tranter
  • Shaouy
  • Hindlin
  • Paul
  • Ryan
3:54
Total length:64:43
Digital download and streaming edition (reissue bonus track)
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
16."Girls Like You" (featuring Cardi B)
  • Levine
  • Walter
  • Almanzar
  • Hazzard
  • Evigan
  • Stone
  • Cirkut
  • Evigan
3:55
Total length:61:01
Deluxe edition bonus disc (Live in Manchester 2015)
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Moves Like Jagger" (live in Manchester 2015)
4:59
2."Stereo Hearts" (live in Manchester 2015)3:42
3."Animals" (live in Manchester 2015)
  • Levine
  • Shellback
  • Levin
4:30
4."Daylight" (live in Manchester 2015)
6:56
5."Maps" (live in Manchester 2015)4:22
6."This Love" (live in Manchester 2015)5:01
Japanese edition bonus disc (Live in Manchester 2015)
No.TitleLength
1."Moves Like Jagger" (live in Manchester 2015) 
2."Sugar" (live in Manchester 2015) 
3."Daylight" (live in Manchester 2015) 
4."Payphone" (live in Manchester 2015) 
5."Maps" (live in Manchester 2015) 
6."Stereo Hearts" (live in Manchester 2015) 
7."Harder to Breathe" (live in Manchester 2015) 
8."This Love" (live in Manchester 2015) 
9."Animals" (live in Manchester 2015) 
Mexico tour edition (bonus tracks)[60][61]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
11."Denim Jacket"
  • Levine
  • Ghaleb
  • Kelleher
  • Barnes
  • Kohn
  • Görres
  • Hindlin
  • TMS
  • OzGo
3:52
12."Visions"
  • Levine
  • Ogren
  • Bailey
  • Watson
  • Bushnell
  • Ogren
  • Passavoy
  • Bailey[b]
3:50
13."Don't Wanna Know" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
  • Levine
  • Levin
  • Ryan
  • Hindlin
  • Malik
  • McKenzie
  • Mills
  • Ben-Abdallah
  • Duckworth
  • Blanco
  • The Arcade
  • Lastic
  • Passovoy[a]
3:34
14."Cold" (featuring Future)
  • Levine
  • Ryan
  • Hindlin
  • Tranter
  • Shaouy
  • Hindlin
  • Paul
  • Ryan
3:54
15."Girls Like You" (featuring Cardi B)
  • Levine
  • Walter
  • Almanzar
  • Hazzard
  • Evigan
  • Stone
  • Cirkut
  • Evigan
3:55
16."Girls Like You" (featuring Cardi B) (St. Vincent Remix)
  • Levine
  • Walter
  • Almanzar
  • Hazzard
  • Evigan
  • Stone
  • Cirkut
  • Evigan
3:31
17."What Lovers Do" (featuring SZA) (Slushii Remix)
  • Levine
  • Hazzard
  • Rowe
  • Olatunji
  • Evigan
  • Rådström
  • Stridh
4:15
18."Cold" (featuring Future) (Gucci Mane Remix)
  • Hindlin
  • Paul
  • Ryan
3:39
Total length:74:09
Mexico tour edition DVD[60][61]
No.TitleLength
1."Girls Like You" (music video) (featuring Cardi B)4:31
2."Girls Like You" (behind the scenes teaser) (featuring Cardi B)0:31
3."What Lovers Do" (music video) (featuring SZA)3:34
4."What Lovers Do" (behind the scenes) (featuring SZA)3:20
5."Wait" (music video)3:35
6."Wait" (music video) (Snapchat Version)3:08
7."Wait" (behind the scenes)3:00
8."Cold" (music video) (featuring Future)6:51
Total length:28:30

Notes

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

Sample credits

Credits and personnel[edit]

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
  • Randy Merrill – mastering[62]
  • Jared Watson – songwriting
  • Isaiah Tejada – keyboards, synthesizers
  • Kenneth Whalum – tenor saxophone on "Closure"

Recording locations[edit]

  • Conway Recording Studios (Los Angeles) – recording (tracks 1–14)
  • MixStar Studios (Virginia Beach) – mixing (tracks 1–14)
  • Westlake Recording Studios (Los Angeles) – recording (track 2)
  • Chumba Meadows (Tarzana) – recording (tracks 2, 9)
  • The Venice Studio (Venice, CA) – recording (track 3)
  • Electric Lady Studios (New York) – recording (track 6)
  • Henson Recording Studios – recording (track 10)
  • Wolf Cousins Studios (Stockhold, Sweden) – recording (track 11)
  • Glenwood Place (California) – recording (track 13)
  • Matzah Ball Studios (New York) – recording (track 13)
  • Inner Child Records (London) – recording (track 13)
  • Sterling Sound (New York) – mastering (tracks 1–14)

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[98] Gold 35,000double-dagger
Austria (IFPI Austria)[99] Gold 7,500*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[100] 2× Platinum 80,000double-dagger
Canada (Music Canada)[101] 2× Platinum 160,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[102] Platinum 20,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[103] Platinum 100,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[104] Gold 25,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[105] Platinum 15,000^
Sweden (GLF)[106] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[107] Silver 60,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[52] 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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  3. ^ Hann, Michael (November 2, 2017). "Maroon 5: Red Pill Blues review – impeccable pop and middling R&B". The Guardian. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  4. ^ Greene, Jayson (November 8, 2017). "Maroon 5: Red Pill Blues". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Maroon "Matrix"? Maroon 5 announce new album "Red Pill Blues"". Full Service 100.1/Real Country Q. Archived from the original on October 7, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
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  7. ^ Swertlow, Meg (August 13, 2017). "Maroon 5 Accepts the Decade Award at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards". E! News. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  8. ^ "LISTEN: @adamlevine tells @zanelowe that a new @maroon5 album could be out in November + there's one more collab he's really stoked for.pic". Twitter. August 30, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
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  21. ^ Ginsberg, Gabriella (August 30, 2017). "Maroon 5 & SZA Team Up for Perfect End of Summer Song 'What Lovers Do' — Listen". Hollywood Life. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  22. ^ Maroon 5 (September 15, 2017). "What Lovers Do - Lyric Video - Out Now". Twitter. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  23. ^ Blistein, Jon (September 28, 2017). "Watch Maroon 5, SZA's Vibrant 'What Lovers Do' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  24. ^ Maroon 5 (November 3, 2017). "James Valentine reveals "Wait" becomes a new single". Twitter. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  25. ^ "Top 40/M Future Releases - Mainstream Hit Songs Being Released and Their Release Dates". All Access. January 4, 2018. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  26. ^ "Girls Like You (feat. Cardi B) – Single". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  27. ^ Trust, Gary (November 5, 2018). "Maroon 5 & Cardi B's 'Girls Like You' Leads Billboard Hot 100 For Seventh Week, Halsey & Sheck Wes Hit Top 10". Billboard. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
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  31. ^ "Maroon 5 Girls Like You Adult Contemporary Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
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