WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

Few rock groups this millennium have enjoyed the musical longevity and success that Maroon 5 has. And, you could argue, that's because they're not purely a rock group anymore. Over the last 20 years or so, Maroon 5's sound has ranged from pop, to rock, to R&B, a sonic evolution that continues on the band's sixth studio effort, Red Pill Blues.

Red Pill Blues features collaborations with artists as diverse as A$AP Rocky, Julia Michaels and SZA. Meanwhile, the album cover pictures each band member through a Snapchat filter, reinforcing Maroon 5's up-to-the-moment appeal. As for the album's title, it is—as astute sci-f fans might have surmised—a nod to a pivotal scene from 1999's mind-bending movie The Matrix, in which the mysterious Morpheus gives Neo the choice between taking a red pill or a blue one. The red pill, in the context of this album, helps you remember. And the blue one? It'll help you forget.

And depending upon the romance in question—relationships filled with sex, conflict, dysfunction and remorse—either choice might seem equally valid to famous frontman Adam Levine and his bandmates.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

On "Best 4 U," a man puts the needs of his beloved above his own: "I just want the best for you/But I'm not just the best for you." And on "Wait," we hear about someone who desires to "make up for all those times" when he's been "just another bad guy."

"Bet My Heart" features a man who vows faithfulness (which, he admits, hasn't always been his habit) to a woman who has enchanted his heart. "Who I Am" shares a similar theme of fidelity: "Don't ask me if I stay true/When you know you're the only one."

"Whiskey" delivers a melancholy confessional of sorts, in which a man looks back on a past love and realizes, "I never knew that love was blind/'Til I was hers/But she was never mine." Then he adds, "She was a lesson/I had to learn." Reminiscence and regret likewise mingle on "Denim Jacket." And on "Visions," a man says a prayer of sorts for deliverance from haunting memories about yet another failed relationship.

Objectionable Content

"Best 4 U" involves a guy openly admitting that his substance abuse leads to deception: "I get drunk, I get high/Then you call and I lie." The song seems to be a cautionary tale of sorts—which could be interpreted positively in that respect—about his out-of-control addictions. Still, those addictions clearly remain out of control, which obviously isn't a good thing: "Parties with shots and powder/ … 'Cause I can't turn this life around." More of the same can be heard in "Wait," as a man admits to relying too heavily upon liquid courage to say something important: "Wasn't tryna get wasted/I needed more than three or four to say this."

"What Lovers Do" portrays sex and love as a game where two people can never make up their minds on the status of their relationship: "Aren't we too grown for games?" Levine asks. "Aren't we too grown to play around?/ … Young enough to chase/But old enough to know better." Meanwhile, "Lips on You" narrates the effect of a passionate kiss ("When I put my lips on you/I feel the shivers go up and down") and suggestively hints at more physical intimacy too ("Just turn off the lights/and you could be my private dancer").

"Help Me Out" seems to deliver a thinly veiled request for sex: "Help me out/'Cause I don't wanna do this on my own/ … Distract me from thinking too much/Loose ends all tied up with a touch." Levine is joined by Julia Michaels in this duet, and together they describe a brief moment of sexual connection as a kind of salvation: "Ooh, I need some temporary saving/Ooh, I need some, some uncomplicating."

The band compares a woman's kiss to whiskey on the song by that name. Elsewhere on "Whiskey," guest contributor A$AP Rocky equates a woman's touch with a litany of other kinds of alcohol, including rum, tequila, vodka and Dom Pérignon. And "Who I Am" also mentions "champagne flutes" in reference to intoxicating love.

Sex is the topic of conversation in "Girls Like You" where a man and woman "spend the night making things right." But that, in fact, doesn't make their relationship right, as other lyrics imply that it's still pretty dysfunctional: "Maybe you've taken my s--- for the last time/Maybe I know that I'm drunk."

Sex is used to manipulate in "Closure": "If you want closure/Come on and close that door." Meanwhile, "Denim Jacket" finds a man clinging unhealthily to a lost relationship. That song also mentions a woman smoking ("You're standing there with your cigarette/Looking at me like we've never met") and includes an f-word.

Summary Advisory

In The Matrix, Morpheus tells Neo that he has two choices: to take the blue and "believe whatever you want to believe." Or to take the red pill and "stay in Wonderland."

Maroon 5 wrestles with its version of that dichotomy on Red Pill Blues: denial or honesty. To the band's credit, several songs do grapple with bad choices and feature men trying to take responsibility for their character faults.

That said, character faults are on nonetheless on display all over this album, from substance abuse to sex being used as an emotionally abusive chip in the game of love. And those disappointing flaws make the choice to pass on Red Pill Blues a pretty straightforward one.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Debuted at No. 2.

Record Label

Interscope

Platform

Publisher

Released

November 3, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.