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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.

Defining success: Middle school purple basketball begins season with ‘spirit,’ ‘pride’

Elyse+Harris+%28%E2%80%9929%29+dribbles+the+basketball+away+from+a+Crossroads+navy+team+member.+The+middle+school+purple+basketball+team+beat+Crossroads+41-5+in+their+first+game+of+the+season+Wednesday%2C+Dec.+13.+Photo+by+Archer+Athletics.
Elyse Harris (’29) dribbles the basketball away from a Crossroads navy team member. The middle school purple basketball team beat Crossroads 41-5 in their first game of the season Wednesday, Dec. 13. Photo by Archer Athletics.

Former Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant said, “The important thing is that your teammates have to know you’re pulling for them and you really want them to be successful.” According to basketball head coach Dani LeNoir, the middle school purple team is demonstrating this principle through their enthusiasm, joy and team spirit heading into the beginning of their season. 

Their competitive season began Wednesday, Dec. 13, with a scrimmage against Crossroads’ navy team before pausing for winter break. Archer beat Crossroads 41-5. The season will resume Tuesday, Jan. 9, with a second and official league match against Crossroads.

The team is composed of 14 middle school players, some with as much as seven years of practice and some beginning their first year of the sport.

Seventh grader Zoë Butler said LeNoir has facilitated a positive environment where players of all skill levels are able to have fun and learn on the court together. Through these conditions, she said the team is able to cultivate this spirit while playing.

“Coach L really influences [our spirit] because she pushes us to make sure we are doing what we are meant to be doing, but also she knows it’s important to have fun,” Butler said. “She definitely keeps us all in good spirits and energized.”

LeNoir said her coaching style is playful, but she also has high expectations. She said she understands the importance of making jokes and keeping practices lighthearted but also of recognizing when it’s time for the team to focus on specific goals.

New Archer student and basketball player Kamryn Nobuyuki (‘30) said she feels grateful for Lenoir.

“She’s probably one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” Nobuyuki said. “And she’s supportive, on top of things, and she’s very, very funny.”

The team trains on Archer’s Sport Court, often sharing the space with other training teams. LeNoir holds practices after school from 3-5 p.m. Despite not yet playing a league match, LeNoir said the team possesses an abundance of team spirit during practice.

“That’s one of the biggest things I like to emphasize at the very beginning of the season because I know we’re not going to get very far without [spirit],” LeNoir said. “I want them to have a great time playing while they’re also getting better. So they take a lot of pride in getting better, and that spirit pumps each other up. And sometimes, it takes time to build that with a team, but they pick it up really fast. They already have great bonds with each other.”

Nobuyuki said the team’s energy not only comes from LeNoir but also the game itself.

“Usually, in basketball, you have to be very loud and very annoying to defend,” Nobuyuki said. “So because of this, the team has a lot of energy, and we are very energetic. And we do a lot of yelling and screaming during the matches for each other.”

For some teams success looks like a perfect record, but LeNoir said she measures the success of the team differently.

“Success looks like them getting better every day. I tell them, ‘I’m not going to say I don’t care about wins and losses’ — yes, we care. We’re competing for a reason. But my main concern is that they are giving their full effort and trying something new and failing and trying again,” LeNoir said. “So watching them grow as players is my biggest highlight. I love seeing them grow over the years.”

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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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