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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.

Community connects: Pride Month celebration fosters ‘acceptance’, ‘supportive environment’

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  • Posters hang on the Rose Room window, centering around the transgender flag. Students were able to write an answer to a prompt on the posters about the different aspects of being queer. One of the posters read, “I love my queer friends because… they help me just like I help and support them.”

    Photo credit: Katie Ray McKillop
  • Students participate in activities along the table as a way to celebrate Pride Month. The celebration had a bracelet and a poster making station. GSA also handed out candy and decorations at the table.

    Photo credit: Katie Ray McKillop
  • Maya Hernandez (’27) and Olivia Hallinan-Gan (’26) pose with paper fans inspired by the LGBTQ+ flag. Upon reflecting on her time at the celebration, Hallinan-Gan said it was a fun. “It was just a really good time to reflect on queer media and queer spaces in [the] Archer community and beyond,” Hallinan-Gan said.

    Photo credit: Katie Ray McKillop
  • A middle school student holds the asexual flag while she talks to Coach Coleman. Vivianne Arnold (’26) said she loved how many people came to celebrate, including people who aren’t a part of GSA. “It was everything I could [have] hoped for and more,” Arnold said.

    Photo credit: Katie Ray McKillop
  • Three students hold out their wrists to show their bracelets they made at the celebration. Natalie London (’26) said she had a great time making bracelets and that it was a supportive space. “I really felt the encouraging and uplifting community that defines Archer as a school,” London said. “I had a really fun time.”

    Photo credit: Katie Ray McKillop
  • Posters taped against the window display different students responses about the aspects of being queer. One poster says their queer icon is the lesbian pop singer Chappell Roan. Bryce Collis (’25) said she answered this prompt with Renee Rapp, but she also likes Lesley Gore, Freddie Mercury and David Bowie.

    Photo credit: Katie Ray McKillop
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With Chappell Roan blasting on the speakerphones and the Rose Room windows adorned with pride flags, the Archer community’s early celebration of Pride Month occurred May 17 in the courtyard. The event featured a table of rainbow decorations such as feather boas and fans, a bracelet making table and a station for community members to write responses to prompts about queer culture and identity.

The Gender Sexuality Alliance affinity group spent approximately one month planning this event, utilizing time at their bi-weekly meetings. According to GSA board member Bryce Collis (‘25), every year, they host a Coming Out Day celebration in the fall, but they do not typically have a pride celebration in the spring.

GSA board member Vivianne Arnold (’26) said they did not have this celebration in the past because the dates did not work with the end of the year schedule. Arnold said having GSA as a club at Archer is very important to many students on campus. She said she already knew she was queer before coming to Archer, but the caring community she found in GSA has been invaluable to her.

It’s a space where you can be authentically gay.”

— Hollyn Alpert (‘28)

“I’ve never had such a space, where I could be myself and be around other people who were just so welcoming asupportive and just lovely people,” Arnold said. “It’s such a welcoming community.”

According to Arnold, in GSA meetings, members will talk, listen to music and sometimes play games. Hollyn Alpert (’28), who is a member of GSA, also said she thinks it is a supportive, accepting community.

“It’s a space where you can be authentically gay,” Alpert said.

Arnold said there is a stigma for queer kids, especially teenage girls, around embracing their LGBTQ+ identity. According to a CDC survey from 2021, 52% of LGBQ+ high school students reported “experiencing poor mental health during the past 30 days,” compared to 22% of heterosexual high schoolers who experienced poor mental health.

“I really hope the community gets involved with the event because allyship is such an important part of advocacy and supporting one another is really important. It’s one of the Archer values,” Arnold said. “I hope everyone feels like they can celebrate together.”

Alpert said hosting this type of celebration at Archer is important because it demonstrates to the LGTBQ+ community that Archer is a welcoming place.

“I think it’s important because it lets both the closeted and out queer people know that this is a safe space for them to express their identity in a way that makes them feel comfortable,” Alpert said.

Adella Travers (’27) attended the celebration and said it was lot of fun. She said she enjoyed getting to talk to people and had a good time overall. She also made a poster that wrote, “I love being queer because it allows me to live freely and authentically as myself.” 

Before the celebration, Arnold reflected on her goals for the event. She said she hoped the community would connect to celebrate pride together.

“A lot of times [being queer is] a negative thing that you’re persecuted or judged for, and we hope this will be a time for people to openly and publicly be able to be themselves,” Arnold said. “It’s wonderful to have GSA as a space, but it’s also wonderful to be able to [celebrate] in front of the whole community … and have people celebrate you.”

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About the Contributor
Katie Ray McKillop
Katie Ray McKillop, Staff Reporter
Katie Ray McKillop joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2023. She is on the surf team and swim team at Archer. In her free time, Katie Ray enjoys painting, baking, reading, and spending time with her friends.

Comments (2)

As part of Archer’s active and engaged community, the Editorial Board welcomes reader comments and debate and encourages community members to take ownership of their opinions by using their names when commenting. However, in order to ensure a diverse range of opinions, the editorial board does allow anonymous comments on articles as long as the perspective cannot be obtained elsewhere, and they are respectful and relevant. We do require a valid, verified email address, which will not be displayed, but will be used to confirm your comments. Because we are a 6-12 school, the Editorial Board reserves the right to omit profanity and content that we deem inappropriate for our audience. We do not publish comments that serve primarily as an advertisement or to promote a specific product. Comments are moderated and may be edited in accordance with the Oracle’s profanity policy, but the Editorial Board will not change the intent or message of comments. They will appear once approved.
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  • M

    Maya HernándezMay 21, 2024 at 8:26 am

    Love this so much Katie Ray!! Thank you for the photo feature 🙂

    Reply
  • J

    Janet McKillopMay 20, 2024 at 7:32 pm

    Looks like a wonderful celebration! Kudos to Archer and GSA for making it happen. Great article and terrific photos!

    Reply