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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.

JV tennis coaches promote mental strength, in-person connection

Team+captains+Stephanie+Harrison+%2824%29+and+Emi+Marmol+%2824%29+chat+as+they+come+off+the+court.+The+JV+tennis+team+had+a+final+record+of+8-1.+Photo+by+Archer+Athletics.+
Team captains Stephanie Harrison (’24) and Emi Marmol (’24) chat as they come off the court. The JV tennis team had a final record of 8-1. Photo by Archer Athletics.

Sophomore Tessa Moshtaghi nervously awaits her doubles match against Saugus High School. She prepares to serve the ball, spinning her racket with anticipation. Moments before entering the court, Head Coach Paula Feingenbaum encourages the rest of the team to cheer her on — easing her stress. She serves the ball and receives the point as the roar of cheers from her teammates fills the court.

This was the scene on Oct. 13 in the JV match against Saugus High School, when the team won 5-1. The JV tennis team has a final record of 8-1, winning their most recent match against Marymount High School. Feigenbaum said the team had a strong season, and the players built off of each other’s skills nicely.

“They’re having a terrific season,” Feigenbaum said. “They’re all nicely bonding together, and we have two seniors who have been leading the team and welcoming everybody.”

Senior Emi Marmol said she has enjoyed getting to know team members in other grades and fostering friendships through tennis. Marmol has been playing for the JV tennis team since her freshman year.

“I get to connect with a lot of people who I normally don’t talk to on a regular day basis, so it’s really nice,” Marmol said.

Feigenbaum said one of her goals with the team was to motivate everyone to disconnect from their devices while on the bus and off the court.

“One weakness [of the team] is we want them to be enthusiastic and develop more of a mental game,” Feigenbaum said. “That is why we start as a team and finish as a team.”

According to the National Library of Medicine, mental toughness in athletes is consistent with the quality of their playing. The article states that a large component of building mental endurance is belief in one’s ability, which is further reinforced by peers.

Marmol said team connection depends on how the team pursues relationships. She said she understands it can be difficult to disconnect from phones and reach out to others, especially to team members in different grades.

“I definitely see people on both sides — [on the bus] some people just sit down on their phone, but I try to make an effort and talk to people,” Marmol said. “As a captain, we are trying to encourage more team bonding.”

She said the team spent time learning court strategies and practices such as mindfulness and working on their focus.

“It’s more than just hitting a tennis ball — you have to be mentally strong under pressure,” Feigenbaum said. “By the time that the girls are finished at Archer, they should be able to go out and play completely on their own from our guidance.”

The team won their most recent game against a coed high school but sometimes played against other all-girls schools. Freshman Avery Penepinto said that the team’s competitive nature slightly differs depending on what school they are playing against.

“The only two all-girls schools we’ve played against were Marymount and Marlborough — we played really well against them,” Penepinto said. “It’s the same with other schools — JV is just really good.”

Marmol said a highlight from the season was getting to spend quality time with her teammates. She said she and the other cocaptain hosted a “Barbie” movie night for the team to bond. She said that small fun moments with her team made playing tennis more enjoyable.

“Movie night was definitely a highlight for me,” Marmol said. “Another time, I bought a speaker and blasted music during practice — it was a fun moment.”

Feigenbaum said her strategies for team bonding will aid the players in their life outside of tennis, and into their adult career. She said she hoped to combat cliques in the team culture, especially in an all-girls team. Feigenbaum said it is imperative that the players continue to display their Archer values in school and in tennis.

“At the beginning when we first sorted the teams, the girls on JV didn’t know each other,” Feigenbaum said. “Right now, they’re nonstop talking as if they’ve been friends for a long time.”

Moshtaghi said Feigenbaum and assistant coach Mayada Audeh empower her on and off the court, giving her constructive and encouraging feedback by acknowledging each player’s strengths and weaknesses.

“They’re really good at not correcting every single thing we do and letting us figure it out yourselves,” Moshtaghi said. “At the same time, if there’s something that we’re doing repeatedly that we are not conscious of, they will let us know without being upset — they just help us.”

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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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