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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.

Column: Beach reads to lift ‘almost summer’ spirits

Photo credit: Madeleine Beaubaire
My friends enjoy the “almost summer” weather accompanied by their good reads. There is nothing like a summer romance or sunny mystery book, which has always satisfied my summer anticipation.

We’ve arrived at the sweet spot between spring and summer break when the weather is warming up beyond its typical 65 degrees, and you must live vicariously through Belwood Bakery smoothies, Starbucks refreshers and awkward uniform polo tan lines. However, by sweet spot, I also mean the painful last push to the finish line.

As we gear up for finals and longingly anticipate summery festivities, I present my official list of beach reads in preparation for the fun to come post-finals.

For starters, anything with the actual word “summer” in the title is a safe bet for a quick summer read. Books like “Every Summer After,” “Summer of Broken Rules” or “One Italian Summer” are all great reads, but don’t ask me about specifics, because I flew through them too fast to retain any lasting knowledge of its contents. Perfect for brain breaks or to trick your mood into doing the assigned reading, such flirts with summer are nothing if not motivating.

For more mainstream readers, the popular TV adaptation of Jenny Han’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty” definitely fits the summer bill. While you wait for its third season to premiere, I recommend indulging in the three-book series rundown of Belly’s summer romances if your patience is as thin as mine. Fans have gone crazy over this trilogy, obsessing over the love triangle between two brothers and their childhood best friend. I’m attempting to refrain and keep my cynicism to myself, so I’ll leave it at this: Jenny Han has created a beloved story with a picture-perfect summer atmosphere.

Continuing the theme of “summer” titles, “Summer Reading” by Jenn Mikinley deserves its own shoutout. This book even got one of my anti-reading friends to try it due to its dyslexic-friendly font. Mikinley’s dual awareness and representation of its neurodivergent antagonist increase comfortability for any and all readers.

If you’re looking for authors who consistently produce summer favorites, Elin Hildebrand is my all-time favorite. I especially encourage readers to check out “28 Summers,” a roller-coaster of a novel I truly cannot recommend enough. Following a 20-year affair, Hildebrand shows the more controversial perspective, making readers fall in love with their relationship despite the scandal. Beyond that, each chapter begins with an overview of the year’s current events and an exploration of dealing with political and literal affairs. Switching genres, Hildebrand’s “Hotel Nantucket” borders mystery, historical fiction, romance and contemporary all in one.

Speaking of mystery novels, or off-putting, mind-melding novels, “The Counselors,” “The Castaways” and my personal favorite, Emily Lockhart’sWe Were Liars” and “Family of Liars” all left me staring speechless at the wall for longer than dubbed healthy. “We Were Liars” specifically explores themes of privilege, family secrets and the unreliability of memory, leaving readers stunned by its unexpected twists.

For any reality TV audience, books like “The Vacationers” or “The Summer Wives” are suspenseful, drama-filled novels complimented by the contrasting summer charm of sunny beaches. These beachy reads are guaranteed to transport readers to captivating worlds beyond the stress of finals and instead reward them with an indulgence in mystery, romance, and adventure.

If escaping to alternate perspectives piques your interest, check out “The Henna Artist” to explore 1950s India or virtually visit Northern Italy in “Call Me By Your Name.” Novels like these transport readers to the vibrant streets of new countries, immersing them in a rich tapestry of culture, tradition, and intrigue. As “The Henna Artist” navigates life as a formerly arranged bride. Over in Europe, Elio and Oliver delve into a passionate and intimate portrayal of summer love.

Whether seeking refuge at sunny paradises, a journey through diverse cultures and perspectives or simply any captivating story to lose yourself in, these beach reads offer something of interest to everyone. We’ve got heartwarming romances, coming-of-age ballads, gripping mysteries and beyond. One chapter left in the school year — then summer read fantasies become realities.

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About the Contributor
Madeleine Beaubaire
Madeleine Beaubaire, Columnist
Madeleine Beaubaire writes a column about books and reading.

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