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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.

Surf’s up: Surf team expands to experienced middle school surfers

Senior+Chloe+Resnick+and+world+language+teacher+Mark+Forte+stand+together+at+Zuma+beach+after+Resnick+competed+in+a+surf+competition.+For+the+fall+season%2C+the+surf+team+has+expanded+to+include+experienced+middle+school+surfers.+Photo+by+Kim+Smith.
Senior Chloe Resnick and world language teacher Mark Forte stand together at Zuma beach after Resnick competed in a surf competition. For the fall season, the surf team has expanded to include experienced middle school surfers. Photo by Kim Smith.

If you are an experienced middle school surfer and are eager to catch waves with your Archer peers, then you’re in luck — the surf team is now open to you.

Archer’s surf team was formed last year in collaboration with Loyola High School‘s team of 10 years. The team was initially intended only for upper school students. However, this fall season, it will be made up of two middle and eight upper school surfers: seven longboarders and three shortboarders.

They will begin practicing in mid-October at beaches such as Zuma or El Porto, depending on the weather. World language teacher Mark Forte is one of the surf coaches, and he said they are working on finalizing their competition schedule.

Middle schoolers will be able to participate in surf practices but will not be eligible to compete until they become freshmen because Archer competes in a high school surf league. Athletic Director Kim Smith coaches the surf team along with Forte. Smith said they both surf with the students in the ocean, while coaching them and sharing their experiences.

“We would ask that for middle schoolers, they have some surf experience … essentially, the surf team is not a ‘learn how to surf club,'” Forte said. “We ask that the middle schoolers have some experience just to be able to catch waves on their own and stay safe out there.” 

Forte said since the majority of Archer sports have a middle and upper school division, he and Smith wanted to provide all students with the opportunity to be on the surf team. Smith said the decision to expand the team stemmed from student interest.

“We had a couple of surfers reach out who were interested in participating, and that fueled the decision to include middle school surfers,” Smith said. “I’m excited to build a program that our students are interested in, to get them to pursue their passion, be in the ocean and connect with each other.” 

Senior Chloe Resnick started surfing when she was around 4 years old. She said she joined the Archer surf program because it allows her to participate in surfing, usually an individual sport, in a group format with peers from school. Resnick hopes middle schoolers gain positive experiences and improve their skills.

I hope middle schoolers either get more comfortable in the water with surfing, or that they just bond with some upper schoolers,” Resnick said. “What I hope to get out of [this season] is to have a good time and do well in the competition.”

Eighth grader Laney McGinn has been surfing since she was around 10 years old and is a longboarder. She said she feels excited about the team’s expansion and described some of her goals for this season. 

“[I hope to] become closer to upper schoolers and make more friendships … [Also] to be able to surf on my own because normally I surf with other people,” McGinn said.

Overall, Resnick said she is anticipating an exceptional season with the expansion of the team.

“For surfing, I don’t really think it matters about how old you are. It’s just about if you’re comfortable in the ocean,” Resnick said. “I love the idea. I think expanding it to middle school is a good idea to have more people on the team … I’m excited.” 

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About the Contributor
Emily Paschall
Emily Paschall, Senior Reporter
Emily Paschall joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022. She is now a senior reporter. She participates in dance at Archer. She is also a part of the Ambassador Leadership Team Advisory Board and Dance Leadership Team. In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to K-pop or Taylor Swift, and playing with her dog.

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