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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.

Ice climbing, homemade wrapping paper, a Swedish Christmas: Teachers share their favorite ways to celebrate the holidays

Sixth+grade+Dean+of+Culture%2C+Community+and+Belonging+Natalie+Kang+ice+climbs+in+Erie%2C+Colorado%2C+where+she+goes+every+year+with+her+husband+and+friends.+Its+something+I+always+look+forward+to+for+winter+break.+Its+kind+of+a+non-traditional+Christmas+or+holiday+choice%2C+but+its+what+works+for+us%2C+Kang+said.+Photo+provided+by+Natalie+Kang.
Sixth grade Dean of Culture, Community and Belonging Natalie Kang ice climbs in Erie, Colorado, where she goes every year with her husband and friends. “It’s something I always look forward to for winter break. It’s kind of a non-traditional Christmas or holiday choice, but it’s what works for us,” Kang said. Photo provided by Natalie Kang.

To all the Archer students who talked about their holiday plans, did you know what your teacher’s holiday plans were? Educators have their own traditions and celebrations as well; from football games to ice climbing, here are some Archer teachers’ favorite ways to spend the holidays.

Fitness and wellness teacher Natalie Chambers said she is normally a “huge hermit” who loves to spend the holidays sleeping and watching movies. But this year, she did something different from her normal routine. Chambers traveled to Texas for the Lions versus Cowboys game and then went to support the University of Michigan at the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl game.

“We also paid for a tour of the Cowboys Stadium because I like marking off stadiums on my bucket list, and I’ve never been. I’ve heard good things,” Chambers said. “We’re literally getting on a plane from Texas, we’re taking a red eye, getting here on the first and then going from the airport straight to the Rose Bowl game.”

Math teacher Matthew Bartha spent his holiday with his newborn daughter. He and his wife started a new tradition this year.

“We had our first baby in July, and she has not been over to see her mom’s side of the family because [they] are all in Tennessee,” Bartha said. “To start a new tradition, because we have a baby, we need to do something in Tennessee every other year and something in LA the other years.”

Sixth grade Dean of Culture, Community and Belonging and French teacher Natalie Kang looks forward to her annual ice climbing trip in Erie, Colorado, with her husband and friends. Ice climbing is similar to rock climbing and is usually held in an ice park of frozen waterfalls. Every year, Kang said she and her husband invite a different group of friends, and sometimes, their trips are as big as 14 people.

“[My husband] is the lead climber, [meaning] he establishes the route and sets up the anchor for the other climbers,” Kang said. “He climbs first, which means he’s placing ice screws in the wall as he climbs, and he clips a rope to those ice screws.” 

Math teacher Leila Chakravarty said she loves to spend quality time with her kids during the holidays, whether it is by discovering new parks, going on nature walks or playing sports. To count down the days until Christmas, she said she makes an advent calendar for her three children.

“A lot of times, kids get [calendars] full of chocolate, but I made mine out of felt; I sewed it and put special symbols on it that are important to my family,” Chakravarty said. “We fill that up with stickers and sometimes candy — fun little things for the kids. It’s a really fun way to get excited about Christmas.”

Every year, English teacher Sara Rubin celebrates Hanukkah with her husband’s family and Christmas with her family in St. Louis, Missouri. Rubin said she loves wrapping gifts and will spend hours creating them.

“My favorite part of the holidays is wrapping gifts, not even giving the gift. I do elaborate gift wrapping — I often will use recycled paper bags from grocery stores, and on the blank side, I’ll do really elaborate decoration,” Rubin said. “Sometimes, I’ll do cross-stitching patterns on them, paint them or do collages and other stuff like that. I love doing it because it’s super personalized.”

These three gifts display some of the wrapping paper that English teacher Sara Rubin has decorated. Every year, she personalizes the wrapping paper and gives the gifts to her family and friends. (Photo credit: Sara Rubin)

History teacher Bethany Neubauer visited her family in Boston for Christmas. Her husband is Swedish, so every year, she and her husband’s family do a Swedish Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve with foods such as Swedish meatballs, cheese and bread.

“It turns out there are a lot of Swedish people in Los Angeles — who knew? In fact, there’s a shop in Santa Monica, where I live, that has a lot of Swedish food, so we just get lots of cheeses and smoked salmon,” Neubauer said. “We make this bread pudding with an almond in it, and whoever finds the almond is supposed to be the person who’s going to get married next. We have to be careful; I try to put it in the bowl of somebody who’s not married yet.”


Although students often forget their teachers have lives outside of school, teachers are more than just their occupation. Students, try to learn more about your teachers — you never know what you might have in common.

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About the Contributor
Sydney Tilles
Sydney Tilles, Senior Reporter
Sydney Tilles joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became a senior reporter in 2023. She is on the Archer tennis team and dance company. She loves learning about current events, participating in service learning and activism. She has a passion for government, politics, and social justice.

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  • M

    Ms. GeffenJan 8, 2024 at 8:56 am

    This is such a fun article, Sydney! I loved reading and learning about my colleagues’ traditions. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply