Don't Wanna Know
by Maroon 5 (featuring Kendrick Lamar)

Album: Red Pill Blues (2016)
Charted: 5 6
Play Video


  • The first new music released by Maroon 5 since their 2014 album V, "Don't Wanna Know" finds Adam Levine denying in the chorus any interest in what his ex-lover doing now. However, the verses paint a different picture. "Every place I go," he pleads, "reminds me of you." Clearly, Levine does "wanna know" what she is up to.
  • The song finds Maroon 5 hooking up again with hitmaking producer Benny Blanco (Ke$ha's "TiK ToK," Katy Perry's "California Gurls"). Blanco previously co-produced "Maps," the lead single from the band's previous album V.
  • The song features 19 seconds of rapping from Kendrick Lamar in which he shows his former lover what she's been missing. Although this is the first collaboration between Lamar and Maroon 5, the Compton rhymer and Adam Levine previously worked together in 2013 on The Lonely Island track "YOLO."
  • The mallet synth percussion that drives this song was a popular sound at the time - you can hear variations of it in "Work from Home" by Fifth Harmony and "Shape Of You" by Ed Sheeran.
  • Maroon 5 debuted the song on September 3, 2016 at the AT&T Centre in San Antonio, minus Lamar's verse.
  • The music video shows the band transforming into cuddly, Pokémon-like monsters, who are hunted down by smartphone-wielding youngsters. Sarah Silverman (as Adam Levine's ex), Ed Helms and Vince Vaughn all have cameos in the clip, which was directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers). The director, producer and screenwriter previously shot the band's visual for "Sugar."
  • According to guitarist James Valentine, this is a typical Maroon 5 song.

    "'Don't Wanna Know' is such like a sorta summer, feel good, happy-sounding song," he told ABC Radio. "That's always kinda been our formula... happy music, sad lyrics or sad music, happy lyrics. I dunno, it just always works for us."
  • Maroon 5 have a history of hooking up with rappers, having previously worked with the likes of Wiz Khalifa. James Valentine explained to Artist Direct how the band gets exciting about what their hip-hop collaborators are going to come up with:

    "It's so fun and those collaborations, a lot of times, you don't talk about moments in the studio. There have been times when they've actually… or we've had an artist come to our studio and do it, but usually we'll send off files because a lot of these guys have their own studios or guys they like to cut their vocals with, so you send off your files and it's a really exciting moment to get the files back and be like, 'Ok what?'

    That's always a really… because we have no idea. We aren't going to tell Kendrick or anybody else what to do. We want them to do it because we trust them and know they're going to deliver something that is amazing, but so it's always such a surprise to hear what direction they take it, lyrically what they choose to play upon because we'll listen to the song, so usually that'll give it sort of a starting point, but you never know what's going to happen. That's always really exciting."
  • Jacob Kasher (Maroon 5's "Sugar") recalled to Billboard how this collaborations with co-writers John Ryan and Ammar Malik led to him being awarded an executive producer credit on Red Pill Blues.

    "We put that down and I said, 'I gotta send this to Adam [Levine],'" he said. "He loved it, then we did 'Cold' and a few more. Before we knew it, we had half an album done."
  • The album title 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. However, the term "Red pill" is also associated with the men's rights movement and anti-feminist ideas. James Valentine explained that to The Huffington Post that the group were unaware of the term's connotations.

    "We didn't really understand the whole men's rights thing. We're like, 'Oh man, of course, like 2017 is the worst,' he said of the moment they discovered its alternative meaning. "We were talking about 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."

    Valentine continued: "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 to have. The internet trolls have to ruin everything."

Comments: 1

  • Neel from MumbaiThe album is Red Pill Blues and this song appears only in the deluxe edition.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat WorldSongwriter Interviews

Jim talks about the impact of "The Middle" and uses a tree metaphor to describe his songwriting philosophy.

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)Songwriter Interviews

The former Metallica bassist talks about his first time writing a song with James Hetfield, and how a hand-me-down iPad has changed his songwriting.

90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TV

90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TVSong Writing

Shows like Dawson's Creek, Grey's Anatomy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed the way songs were heard on TV, and produced some hits in the process.

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In Songs

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In SongsSong Writing

Songs where something goes horribly wrong (literally or metaphorically), and help is needed right away.

Subversive Songs Used To Sell

Subversive Songs Used To SellSong Writing

Songs about drugs, revolution and greed that have been used in commercials for sneakers, jeans, fast food, cruises and cars.

John Waite

John WaiteSongwriter Interviews

"Missing You" was a spontaneous outpouring of emotion triggered by a phone call. John tells that story and explains what MTV meant to his career.