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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.


"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.


"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.

Review: Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics Tour is a testament to his musicianship, versatility

Photo credit: Oona Seppala
Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran strums his guitar and instructs the audience to sing along to his hit song, “Sing.” Sheeran requested the audience sing background vocals for him a few times during the show, including during this song. The audience was captivated and engaged the entire concert.

As soon as he stepped on stage and began his hit song “Tides,” the crowd flew up from their seats and screamed along to every single word.

Ed Sheeran’s The Mathematics Tour had every genre one could imagine. From rock to hip-hop, country to pop and love ballads to head bangers, there wasn’t anything in the crowd but smiling faces. The Mathematics Tour is a combined tour of each of his albums. The album names are inspired by different mathematical operations: “-“,+”, “×”, “÷” and “=.” The crowd also enjoyed music off of his (then) unreleased albums “Autumn Variations” and “No. 6 Collaborations Project.” The Los Angeles concert took place Sept. 23 at the SoFi Stadium with 81,000 people in the audience. This concert broke the record for the most amount of tickets sold for a one day event in SoFi’s history.

At the beginning of the show, Sheeran announced that he would not use a band for the majority of the concert and would instead accompany himself on a 5-loop station and different guitars. A 5-loop station is a set of pedals where Sheeran records his drums, bass line, background vocals and piano on a loop that plays consistently for the entirety of each song. He was also joined by a four-person band for a few songs and even orchestrated the audience to sing background vocals for him on “Sing.”

Sheeran’s tour is unique because of the lack of band accompaniment. With the catchy nature of his music, it’s surprising to see how simple the background of his songs are. However, while his songs are simple to record and play live, Sheeran’s musicianship is impressive, to say the least. Sheeran shared that he feels his technique and skill have only improved since his last tour in the U.S., nearly five years ago.

When arriving to the concert, I felt that my musical knowledge of Sheeran’s discography was limited, but I was pleasantly surprised by how many songs I knew. In addition to playing his own recorded music, he played songs in which he was a songwriting collaborator and songs he wrote for other artists. The audience enjoyed “Love Yourself” sung by Justin Bieber and written by Sheeran, Benny Blanco and Bieber.

Sheeran also recalled that the first-ever concert he played in the U.S. was in Inglewood, and he was “excited” to be back. He shared anecdotes from the beginning of his journey as a performing artist, saying he would go to open mics in the UK and play songs like “The A Team” and “no one cared.” He also shared his gratitude for the audience, saying that without them, he wouldn’t be on tour again.

Perhaps the most surprising moment of the concert was when he ran around the stage for nearly four minutes rapping the entirety of his hip-hop song, “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” This was a telling example of the type of performer Sheeran is: one who puts all of his energy into each concert. The physical endurance needed to perform like this night after night is impressive. Sheeran’s songwriting is versatile, and he has music that appeals to a diverse range of listeners.

But by far the most memorable moment was when Sheeran began “Thinking out Loud” off of his album “×.” The 81,000 flashlights cascading down the stadium, the synchronized audience swaying to the music and the heartfelt ballad created an unforgettable atmosphere. The overhead screens above the stage displayed an animation of a couple dancing to the song. As this song was towards the end of his show, it was a perfect conclusion to a thoughtful show.

At the end of the night, I left the concert feeling like I had a new understanding of Sheeran as an artist. His dedication to his tour is evident through the complexity of the set and endurance. I can’t wait for his next tour, and in the mean time, you can find me listening to “Autumn Variations.”

  • Vocals
  • Energy
  • Musicianship
  • Set design
  • Enjoyment


The Mathematics Tour by Ed Sheeran was musically diverse, surprising, inspiring, entertaining and fun. The two and a half hour concert was a testament to Sheeran’s skill and endurance, and the 81,000 people in attendance were a testament to his growing popularity.

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About the Contributor
Oona Seppala
Oona Seppala, Senior Reporter
Oona Seppala joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became a senior reporter in 2023. She plays on the varsity tennis team, is a member of Archer's a cappella group, is on the Honor Education Council and Service Squad. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, reading, and playing instruments.

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