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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.

Tempos and tryouts: Dance company auditions foster ‘supportive’ atmosphere across grade levels 

Junior+Bryce+Collis+and+sophomore+Emerson+Cohen+practice+a+dance+move+during+the+upper+school+Night+of+Dance+and+dance+company+auditions+April+15.+Students+first+auditioned+in+randomly-sorted+groups+before+performing+by+grade+level.
Photo credit: Melinda Wang
Junior Bryce Collis and sophomore Emerson Cohen practice a dance move during the upper school Night of Dance and dance company auditions April 15. Students first auditioned in randomly-sorted groups before performing by grade level.

Dancers leapt and pirouetted across the Rose Room April 15 for upper school Night of Dance and dance company auditions for the 2024-25 school year. In addition to holding upper school auditions, dance directors Andrea Locke and Ashley Fisher held middle school Night of Dance auditions April 17 in the Rose Room.

Locke and Fisher hold auditions every spring and determine which dance class—or dance company—a student may take the following year. For eighth graders, juniors and seniors, dance is an elective. For freshmen and sophomores, dance can replace the fitness requirement.

Before they audition, students fill out a questionnaire about their motivations and growth as dancers. Eighth graders may audition for Dance Company 1, freshmen may audition for Dance Company 2, sophomores may audition for Dance Company 3 and juniors may audition for Advanced Study in Dance.

Students are evaluated based on a rubric split into five sections, each worth five points: physical potential, dance technique and skill, musicality and rhythm, recall of movement sequences and stage presence and discipline. Additionally, students are how they demonstrate passion for dance, such as making an effort to learn new techniques.

According to Locke, 39 people auditioned for upper school dance companies, and 25 auditioned for middle school dance companies.

“Over the last few years, [the number of students] has increased,” Locke said. “Since the pandemic, I think people are much more willing to come out and be together.”

Freshman Alex Sunshine has been dancing at Archer for three years and said her first time auditioning for upper school dance company went smoothly.

“It was definitely very energetic in the room, and the vibes made it really comfortable and fun,” Sunshine said.”I enjoy being able to take time out of my day while I’m still at school and be active with my Archer sisters.”

Junior Allie Yang has been a part of Archer’s dance program for six years. She has auditioned for upper school dance company three times and has always been accepted into her company of choice. She said that while she never feels nervous over the outcome of the audition, she feels nervous when students in different grades watch her dance.

“I think laying your heart out on the line when it’s already in an audition type of climate is very stressful,” Yang said. “To get over that, I realized my friends are all here. These are the same people I’ve been dancing with for the past six years. These are the same girls that will have my back if I fall out of a turn or if I stumble in a leap. And, ultimately, it’s not a big deal because the people that matter most to me are there.”

Locke said it is important for dancers to support each other’s performances through affirmation like clapping and cheering. She also elaborated on the different aspects of the rubric.

“It’s a sense of openness that they have and flexibility in their ability to express themselves in the capacity that they have right now, at whatever level that might be,” Locke said. “The other thing is a sense of presence and a sense of engagement. It’s about engagement with other people, especially when it comes to when we look at the long term audience, but also with each other. I love the culture of cheering people on and being supportive.”

Yang said with support from her dance peers, she developed a passion for dance that was reflected in her most recent audition.

“I personally do dance with Archer for the family that it provides. I’ve met some of my best friends from our first audition for troupe in sixth grade,” Yang said. “At the audition, we were cheering so loud for each other, whether we knew each other or not. When you’re bonded by Archer Dance, which is already such a strong program, you really feel the need to make it your best show, even if it’s just a two hour audition.”

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About the Contributor
Melinda Wang
Melinda Wang, Senior Reporter
Melinda Wang joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and is now a senior reporter. She takes art classes and is invested in community service outside of Archer. When she isn't doing homework, you can find her reading, sketching or taking photos.

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