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"The Maybe Man" on Spotify
"The Maybe Man" song-by-song review
Maybe Man

"I wish I was me, whoever that is/I could just be and not give a sh**/Hey, I'll be whatever makes you a fan/'Cause I don't know who the h*** I am"

As the first song on the album, "The Maybe Man" sets the scene for our unlikely hero, Jack, as he sings a string of dreams and doubts he has for life. Like AJR's previous albums, "The Maybe Man" acts as the overture — but not in the way fans were expecting. Unlike their previous albums, each stanza in The Maybe Man corresponds to a different song in the album:

Verse One: "Touchy Feely Fool," Verse Two: "Yes I'm a Mess," Verse Three: "Turning Out Pt. iii," Verse Four: "Steve's Going to London," Verse Five: "The Dumb Song," Verse Six: "Hole in the Bottom of My Brain," Verse Seven: "The DJ Is Crying For Help," Verse Eight: "I Won't," Verse Nine: "Inertia," Verse 10 and 11: "God is Really Real" and Verse 12: "2085."

In the outro, Jack belts the lyric, "Here I go again," signaling the cycle between life, death and self-discovery is starting once more for the listener and The Maybe Man. While I'm still unsure about the tone change over halfway through the piece, it still a very impactful way to start the album.

Touchy Feely Fool

"I'm screwed/But, hey, what can you do?/I'm a touchy feely fool/I would give anything to not give a sh** about you."

This song is a people pleaser's anthem. Despite the red flags, AJR encapsulates the inability to leave someone with obvious red flags and how it mentally affects an individual. I love when Jack screams his frustrations into the pre-chorus, but it switches back to the happy chorus because a people pleaser will continue please, of course. The more I listened to the song, the more I adapted to the ending, and now I very much enjoy this number.

Yes I'm A Mess

"And I took a job for just July/But feels like I might be here for life/Yeah, I’m in it now, I'm in it now/Could I start again somehow?"

"Yes, I'm A Mess" almost immerses the listener into a western movie set in 2023. From the whistling to the steady drumming, the listener voyages on through life while conscious they are making more of a mess of it. It's relatable and catchy, and you'll find yourself whistling along soon, too.

The Dumb Song

"When we go down/When kingdom come/Don't look at me, don't look at me/I'm just too dumb." 

While this song is called "The Dumb Song," it spotlights the painful feeling of perceiving yourself as "too dumb." With gang vocals inspired by the Beach Boys, horns and guitar give the song a facade of being lighthearted, but also give weight to the insecurity of stupidity.

Inertia

"I'm an object in motion, I've lost all emotion/My two legs are broken, but look at me dance/An object in motion, don't ask where I'm going/'Cause whеre I am goin' is right where I am." 

This is my personal favorite song of this entire album. Inertia focuses on someone who knows their life is messed up but doesn't try to do anything to change the trajectory. This song highlights the numbing experience of living a subpar life and the general feeling of being lost, which is something I can definitely relate to. Though I wish the drums and horns hit harder, it's the song I connect with the most, and I will continue listening to it on repeat.

Turning Out Pt. iii

"'Cause half the time I can't love right/And I'm half yours, and you're all mine."

Turning Out Pt.iii ends a beloved trilogy, written and lived by Ryan Met. After the previous songs question being ready for love and whether the feeling is actually love, this song illustrates the anxiety of wondering if you are on the right path with this person. While this song dances around dreams and doubts, it feels like the big hug Ryan needed and a reminder that love is little, quiet and worth waiting for.

Hole in the Bottom of My Brain

"Heads up, I'm sorry to be that guy/Heads up, I'm lookin' to just get by/Let's just say, let's just say we're fine." 

Inspired by the children's song, “There’s A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea,” this song illustrates the constant feeling of missing something. The dichotomy of a children's song melody while mentioning heavier topics of addiction and struggling mental health is an interesting choice. I didn't agree with it at first until I realized the interesting irony of song. While the lyrics are stronger than the melody in this piece, it deserves a listen.

The DJ is Crying for Help

"Oh, hired, hired, can I get hired?/Yeah, I fu**** up, but I did it my way/I'm tryin', tryin', I can start Friday/Gettin' a life's a little like dyin'."

This is another top pick of the entire album for me, ever since it came out as a single all the way from November 2022. As the song title suggests, the singer is crying for help. They don't know what to do or what step to take next. The violin after the chorus ties seamlessly alongside the gang vocals, and the melodies together sound similar to what a panic attack feels like. As someone who has had panic attacks before, it's almost comforting to find a song that illustrates the internal commotion. This is one of the songs where the powerful music production shines through.

I Won't

"So I do what you tell me to and do it to death/But I can't do this sh** again."

This song is meant get your head banging along with its simple drums and rhythm. With the fast-paced singing, it feels like all the thoughts in the singer's head are finally getting out and recognizing the emotions and ideas they had been holding back. It's a thought-train song — a great song to simply just vibe and sing along with.

Steve's Going to London

"While you try to find some meaning in your life before you die/Here's a bunch of random sh** to waste your time."

This song didn't sell me at first because, unlike the rest of the album, it didn't have the same emotional hold or bigger meaning. But that's part of the point — it serves as the album's brain-empty track: a song about writing song. Add in the gang vocals bringing the song together, and it is a fun listen overall.

God is Really Real

"God is really real when you really, really need Him/Karma just appears when you suddenly believe it." 

This is the most emotional song of the album. Whether you are religious or not, "God is Really Real" highlights the desparation one feels when a loved one is close to the end. You hear it in Jack's vocals, and you hear it in the rise of the guitars and choir. It's a beautiful track for anyone who has ever lost someone.

2085

"So if this is me, then I'll do my best/I'll take all the sh** so you'll never have to/You can be you, and I'll be the rest/Yeah, maybe that's who the h*** I am."

The ultimate conclusion to the album is incredible. While on the first listen it feels as though two songs are strung into one, it works in the context of "The Maybe Man" as a whole. He is able to reflect on what he learned — the value of connection, creativity and constant growth  — and say so in both a warm, guitar-driven piece and a larger-than-life ballad all tied in one song.

One of my favorite aspects of the song is after Jack repeats how "you" need to get better, he states, "I gotta get better; I'm all that I've got." To me, this alludes that there is a part of The Maybe Man in each of us; when we get lost in life, we all need to be reminded that we have to keep going at whatever pace is best for us.

Pulling back the curtains: Rising ticket prices impact concertgoers’ access to seeing artists live  

Harry+Styles+performs+Late+Night+Talking+at+SoFi+Stadium+Oct.+23%2C+2022.+Since+2019%2C+the+average+concert+price+to+see+prominent+artists+like+Styles+has+risen+18%25.
Photo credit: Lola Thomas
Harry Styles performs “Late Night Talking” at SoFi Stadium Oct. 23, 2022. Since 2019, the average concert price to see prominent artists like Styles has risen 18%.

In the interest of full disclosure, ticket broker Christopher Asher is a family friend of this reporter. 


Being an artist’s No. 1 fan, hanging their posters around your room and listening to their music every second possible does not guarantee seeing them perform live in 2023 — unless you have incredible luck and hundreds of dollars to spend on tickets for one night.

In 2023, the average resale price to experience live music has increased by anywhere from 50% to 7,000% from its initial price. According to NBC Los Angeles, the resale price increase can depend on a multitude of factors; however, the biggest one is the prominence of the performing artist.

According to Business Insider, the average resale price to see Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour in North America has skyrocketed to $3,801. Similarly, the average concert ticket has risen to approximately the same price as a month’s rent in Los Angeles. It has become increasingly difficult for the average person to see their favorite artist live. In the seconds fans hesitate to purchase tickets, a venue can be sold out, and they return to the site only to find that the price of resale tickets is more expensive.

The major factors causing concert tickets to rise include the promoters, venues, ticketing companies, ticket resellers and the performing artists themselves. Prominent artists tend to be more in control of what their prices are, while smaller artists’ prices are usually more affordable since they are limited by the size of their venue.

Ticket brokers are individual people or groups that purchase concert tickets in advance of the general sale to sell them for a profit. Ticket broker Christopher Asher said many components go into deciding ticket prices, but the primary reason tends to be how much of a profit the broker needs to make.

“It depends on how big the artist is — everyone wanted to see Beyoncé, so I bought as many tickets as possible,” Asher said. “You have to predict what shows will sell out at the stadium first.”

Asher said, for reselling concert tickets, the broker has to consider the artist’s popularity, the arena and how quickly the tickets sell out. From there, Asher said he has to decide on a price that is close enough to the original selling point but expensive enough to make a profit for himself.

“For example, if a Beyoncé ticket is being sold for $300, and there was a big demand to see her perform, the resold price would be around $500, so I would make a $200 profit,” Asher said. “These concerts are very expensive, but I have to sell them at a higher price to make a decent profit.”

In 2022, Ticketmaster faced many complaints when they sold more tickets to attend Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour than were actually available. Senior Sophie Sackett said her experience using Ticketmaster to purchase Eras Tour tickets was challenging because prices became higher without notice of the additional fees.

“Only a certain number of people could get presale codes, which was still more than the amount of tickets they were selling,” Sackett said. “Ticketmaster will ask you to protect your tickets, without explaining what that means, and having a hidden fee within that is in the smallest fine print.”

It depends on how big the artist is — everyone wanted to see Beyonce, so I bought as many tickets as possible. You have to predict what shows will sell out at the stadium first.”

— Concert ticket broker Christopher Asher

Sophomore Sara Salehi said she has never attended a concert and found the initial process of purchasing tickets online challenging and misleading.

“Ticketmaster wasn’t clear on how to buy tickets,” Salehi said. “I wasn’t sure how to actually buy tickets, and I couldn’t tell what seats were actually available.”

The pandemic also had significant effects on rising ticket prices. Due to concerts being canceled for almost three years and people’s hesitation to attend concerts immediately after COVID-19, 2023 became a record-hitting year for concert attendance. Economic analyst Christopher Cranson predicted that once the opportunity to experience live music after the pandemic returned, high ticket prices would plateau unless prominent artists addressed how expensive they were.

With a high demand for live music, the prices increase. Sophomore Serenity Jones said she stopped going to concerts frequently after COVID-19 as a precaution, but since then, concerts have become more expensive.  

“I used to go to concerts very often, I would go at least every six months,” Jones said. “I just stopped going to concerts after COVID and now it’s much less often, but I got to see my favorite artists recently.”

Salehi said that the experience of seeing her favorite artist would have been worth the process of selecting and purchasing tickets. She said that the success of The Eras Tour is a testament to Swift’s entertaining stage presence and the loyalty of her fanbase.

“[The tickets] were really expensive, but I think they were worth it to see Taylor Swift,” Salehi said. “Even though it was expensive, people were paying that much to see her anyway, which is why her tickets were sold out quickly.”

While seeing major artists in concert is becoming more expensive, getting to experience live music from smaller artists has become increasingly difficult as well. As production prices rise, so do the costs of organizing a concert, which can force smaller artists to sell them for a high price.

For smaller artists, paying those production costs is often unattainable and unrealistic, setting an expensive standard for their concert ticket prices as well. Asher said paying a high price for a resold ticket to see smaller artists perform is often not worth the experience.

“If you want to see someone perform as big as Taylor Swift, paying a high price can be worth the experience, and oftentimes people would see her perform two or three times,” Asher said. “Some artists are just not worth the price — it really just depends on how popular they are.” 

Jones said going to concerts frequently is unrealistic and sets a high standard of what is supposed to be affordable for most people.

“Normal people just can’t afford to attend their favorite concerts,” Jones said. “It seems like some people can just go to a concert three times without knowing the artist just because they can when it’s already expensive to just get one ticket — it takes away that opportunity for a real fan to be able to go.”

Sackett said the process of getting tickets can be frustrating, but it is worth it in the end. She said the experience of getting to enjoy live music outweighs the challenging process of acquiring a ticket.

“It’s worth it because the artists usually put on such a great show,” Sackett said. “The environment is usually really great to be in because you’re surrounded by similar people that just want to experience the same good time you do.” 

Asher said purchasing and selling concert tickets is a tedious and sometimes difficult task. He said the buyer should consider all of their options and consider if the concert tickets they are buying are worth the price.

“The industry is based on very good artists. If you want to see Taylor Swift, you have to consider if what you are buying is worth it, but most of the time, it is,” Asher said. “For some artists, it’s a waste of money and time — you just have to weigh your options.”

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About the Contributor
Lola Thomas
Lola Thomas, Senior Reporter
Lola Thomas joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became a senior reporter in 2023. She is a part of the Ambassador Leadership Team, serves on the Black Student Union Board, and is a member of the Unaccompanied Minors. You can find her listening to music, hanging out with her friends, and playing with her puppy in her free time.

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  • L

    Lucy WilliamsSep 29, 2023 at 10:17 am

    Great article, Lola. SO needed and SO well done! I definitely resonate:)

    Reply
  • S

    Siena FerraroSep 25, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    Incredible feature, Lola! Such an important topic to cover.

    Reply