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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.

Connecting to deeper emotions: Literary magazine compiles student work for upcoming winter edition

Photo credit: Meredith Ho
Freshmen Rosemary Shriver and Bernice Wong read Archer’s literary magazine submission memes. The magazine has featured students’ literary works, including poetry, photography and short stories.

When students hear the words “lit mag,” they may think of the many posters and memes on Archer’s walls — even in unexpected places like bathroom stalls — urging students to submit their literary works. However, according to English teacher James Russo, the purpose of Archer’s literary magazine, “Pillars of Salt,” remains unknown to many students who don’t know the true purpose of it.

Archer’s literary magazine, known as the lit mag, is a digital compilation of upper school students’ works created twice a year during winter and spring. The student-run magazine welcomes diverse submissions, including short stories, poems, photography, art pieces and memoirs. The last volume was the 2022-2023 edition, featuring the theme “Liminal.” In the past, the department printed physical magazines, but it has since transitioned into a digital format, and only contributors will receive a printed copy of it.

Sophomore Natalie London is the lit mag’s prose editor, and this is her first year being involved with the magazine. Her role is to edit short stories and memoirs.

“It’s really valuable that Archer students, specifically those who want to speak their stories and show their voice through writing and artwork, have a way to do that, and I think that’s really powerful that Archer offers something like that,” London said. “It’s definitely a great opportunity. You’re surrounded by other people who also value the same things, and the book is always gorgeous, so I’m really excited to see it when it’s done.”

The process of assembling the book was initially only open to Archer’s creative writing class but is now open to all interested upper school students. Senior Ella Gray is the lit mag’s Editor-in-Chief, and she compiles all of the submissions into a document and assigns editors pieces to edit.

“I joined as a freshman online, and I wasn’t entirely sure what [the lit mag] was, but I saw how all the seniors were so dedicated to making it happen,” Gray said. “I would stay after class, and I would help them edit some pieces. Then, in 10th grade and 11th grade, I was the only underclassman working with a bunch of seniors, and it was just really nice to see how dedicated all the older grades are and to now be in that position.”

English teacher Kathleen Keelty is the current faculty advisor but wasn’t available for an interview, so the Oracle reached out to Russo Lit Mag’s previous faculty adviser for two years, where he oversaw the magazine’s deadlines and organizational systems. Russo said he has seen the publication develop over the years as students become more proactive and confident in their abilities to take on leadership roles. In addition, Russo said he likes to write creatively in his free time because it is a special way to express thoughts about the human experience.

“Creative writing just allows us to access that place inside of us that wants to express pain, joy and all of those emotions that — quite frankly, in today’s world I think — kind of get dull because we spend a lot of our time online, and sometimes we use that as a deflection to not access some of these deeper emotions,” Russo said. “There’s something really powerful about feeling something and expressing it in a creative fashion.”

In addition to editing the magazine, London submitted a poem she wrote about her rescue dogs that portray the metamorphosis they underwent over several months and the journey of emerging from their shells.

“I have two dogs who I rescued, and I don’t know what they went through before,” London said. “So, I was wondering ‘What if they could talk?’ If I knew what they were thinking, what would they say? And I hope [my poem] is maybe something that they would say.”

The next steps for the lit mag’s upcoming 2023-2024 winter edition, which will be published by early March, are to create a layout and choose a theme. When submissions open again for the magazine’s spring edition, Russo encourages students to not only glance at the lit mag posters as they pass by but also contemplate submitting their works as a means to express their individuality.

“Some folks don’t even know they have that voice inside of them. You might have something sort of building inside of you where you want to express something through poetry or prose, but some people are hesitant to do that because it is kind of putting yourself out there,” Russo said. “If you know you’re a little bit gun shy about that, I would encourage folks just to continue to push themselves to do that because I do think that it’s such a healthy way to kind of comment on why we are the way we are.”

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About the Contributor
Meredith Ho
Meredith Ho, Senior Reporter
Meredith Ho joined Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became a senior reporter in 2023. She is on the Archer swim team, a member of the Orchestra Leadership Team, and the co-leader of the Animal Rights Club. In her free time, you can find her riding a bike and hanging out with her friends and family.

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