Don’t Wanna Know

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Adam R. Holz

Album Review

Breaking up? Yup, it’s hard to do. Just like the song says.

Breaking up after you’ve had a physically intimate relationship with someone (without, apparently, having gotten married)? Yeah, that complicates things even further.

Breaking up with someone you’ve been physically intimate with, then wondering if your ex is now doing the same thing with someone else?

Well, that’ll drive you to drink. At least, it will if you’re the character Maroon 5’s Adam Levine (who’s happily married now, by the way) is playing in his band’s latest song, “Don’t Wanna Know.”

Is Ignorance Bliss … or Torture?

Sometimes not knowing what a former flame is up to is therapeutic. Time heals all wounds and all that.

At others, not so much. Like when you can’t stop thinking about what she’s up to now, even if you say you want to stop thinking about it: “I don’t wanna know, know, know, know/Who’s taking you home, home, home, home,” Levine sings in the song’s oft-repeated chorus. Then he adds these lines that add another layer of suggestive angst: “And loving you so, so, so, so/The way I used to love you, no.”

Levine’s character confesses he’s trying to take the edge off those thoughts by drinking. But the alcohol is only making things worse (which, if one is being really generous, could be seen as a kind of accidental cautionary note here): “Wasted (wasted)/And the more I drink, the more I think about you/Oh no, no/I can’t take it.”

From there, Levine spirals into an even deeper, insecurity-laden funk. “Do you think of me/Of what we used to be?/Is it better now/That I’m not around?” Obviously, he’s not much fun to be around, because his buds are walking big circles around the topic. “My friends are actin’ strange,” he sings. “They don’t bring up your name.” Then back to her: “Are you happy now?” Clearly, Levine’s character isn’t. “Even in my head you’re still in my bed/Maybe I’m just a fool.”

The second half of the song finds guest Kendrick Lamar rapping his own contribution. Lamar is less caught up in himself, comparatively speaking, but he’s annoyed that his ex seems to be trying to make him jealous via social media. “No more hashtag boo’d up screenshots/No more tryna make me jealous on your birthday.”

Lamar eventually wanders into the same territory Levine has already traversed: “Do he do you like this, do he woo you like that?” The next unprintable line includes graphic slang for the woman’s anatomy. At the end of his verse, however, Lamar seems more fiercely possessive than Levine (not that that’s a good or healthy response): “May be his right now, but your body’s still with me.” Guess he’s still in denial.

Then it’s back to Maroon 5 for four more repetitions of the chorus and its titular declaration: “I don’t wanna know, know, know, know.”

And Now for Something Completely Different

Sometimes artists choose to tell a song’s story in its accompanying video. Other times, not so much. The latter is definitely the case with the celeb-cameo filled video for “Don’t Wanna Know.”

In it, the members of the band dress up in giant bug and monster costumes. Yes, you read that right. And then they get chased and captured by adoring fans, an obvious dig at the Pokémon Go phenomenon (of all things). Levine and various band members spend a fair bit of the video on the run, even as Levine tries to find the lost love of his life (another costume-wearing character, played by comedienne Sarah Silverman).

As the video progresses, it gets darker and more cynical. Levine’s shell-encased bug is sitting by a pool, drinking directly from a bottle of whiskey when a crazed fan comes over the fence … and Levine casually vaporizes him with an energy bolt.

We also get some commentary on celebrity excess. Levine’s shown in bed with two topless models, who sleep face-down in bed next to him. (We glimpse some side breast.) One costume-wearing partier vomits. Others celebs (including a monstrous Shaquille O’Neal) are shown enthusiastically cavorting with the ladies. A scantily clad woman puts a smoking something (it’s unclear whether it’s a cigarette or a joint) in Levine’s mouth, and he puffs away.

Near the end, Maroon 5’s frontman shares a drink with actor Vince Vaughn (also in costume) in a bar, where they swap complaints about being constantly pursued. Levine laments, “I’m sweating my a– off. I gotta run around all day from these f—in’ kids. … Sometimes it feels like a nightmare.” Obviously, Levine and Vaughn are mocking whiny, whinging celebrities. Still, the inclusion of profanity, drinking, smoking and nearly nude nameless women in the video only add—albeit with admittedly absurd flair—to the problems this breakup song itself already has.

Adam R. Holz

After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.

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