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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.

Op-Ed: Homeless people are not at fault for Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis, the government is

Photo credit: Charlotte Burnap
A tent sits underneath a freeway overpass in Studio City. Due to LA County’s continuous failure to help the homeless, makeshift shelters, such as tents, can be found all over the city.

Growing up in Los Angeles, the countless bus stops and bridges littered with homeless encampments have always been a heartbreaking part of the city that I call home. The blame for California’s homelessness crisis — the worst of all states in America — has constantly been thrown on the homeless individuals themselves. Substance abuse, mental health issues and financial instability are the most commonly cited reasons for how homeless people end up on the streets. While the gravity of these problems cannot be doubted, I propose adding one more reason to the list: the carelessness of federal and state governments.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority annually counts the estimated homeless population in Los Angeles County and City. In the organization’s 2023 count, the data found 75,518 homeless individuals living in Los Angeles County — a 9% increase from 2022 — and 46,260 homeless individuals living in the city of Los Angeles — a 10% increase from 2022. Numerous counties in Southern California reported increases from 2022 larger than Los Angeles, such as Riverside, with a 12% increase, Kern and San Diego, both with 22% increases, and San Bernardino, with a 26% increase.

Although the increase in homelessness from 2022 to 2023 is less than increases between previous years, these numbers still reflect an alarming rise in the number of homeless individuals across the city. As the number of homeless people in Los Angeles and other cities continues to swell, it would be logical to assume California’s government would seek to solve and implement thorough measures to improve the problem. 

This is not on their agenda.

According to an article by the Los Angeles Times, Cal ICH, a state council specifically created to oversee and supervise the implementation of homelessness programs failed to consistently track their spending and outcomes following a report covering progress from 2020-2021. The council received large amounts of funding from the state in recent years, and now, the program’s effectiveness is unknown.

Even though California spent over $24 billion to thwart the ongoing crisis, the capability nor the success of their attempts can be confirmed. Failures such as these highlight the irresponsibility of those in charge. Cal ICH’s insufficient data collection not only reflects poorly on the council but also highlights the incapability of higher-ups in the government to make adequate change. 

However, California’s government is not the only state failing to properly address homelessness. Between July 2008 and April 2013, the Rawson-Neal Hospital, a state-run psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, discharged over 1,500 mental patients, sending them to a Greyhound bus station and buying one-way tickets off to various cities across the country alone, sometimes while heavily medicated. The bulk of these patients, more than 325 individuals, were sent to neighboring California. Following the arrival of these relocated patients, the hospital failed to provide any food, medication, housing or medical treatment. 

As mentioned above, mental illness is one of the largest contributors to homelessness, and the role of psychiatric hospitals should be to help those struggling, to prevent them from ending up on the streets. By shipping away the very people the Rawson-Neal Hospital was supposed to care for, the Nevada government recklessly chose to dump homeless people on the streets of other states.

Nevada was not the first or last state to offer its people free one-way tickets without adequate housing plans or other forms of care. Numerous states have bused out their homeless or impoverished citizens, often in order to decrease their homeless populations without having to spend large amounts of money on actually solving the problem.

If states continue to bus out their homeless, then the federal government needs to play a bigger role by passing nationwide legislation. The moment a homeless person crosses a state line under the authority of another government, it should be considered a federal issue.

America’s national government needs to implement laws surrounding bussing. If homeless individuals want to travel across the country to reach a support system, such as family or a hospital, a thorough check needs to be conducted to guarantee that this support is viable and will benefit the individual. 

On a statewide level, California needs to see the people behind the crisis, and understand they are not forgettable numbers, but individuals that need help. Homeless people are American citizens too, and do not deserve to be neglected as though their needs have less value. Funding needs to be properly regulated and work to relocate people from the streets should come from a place of passion with constant work towards improvement. In addition, programs targeting mental health, rehabilitation and financial aid should be more widely available for the formerly homeless to allow a smooth integration into society.

Above all, if California — and America at large — truly wants to solve the homelessness crisis, accountability seems like a good place to start. 

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Burnap
Charlotte Burnap, Staff Reporter
Charlotte Burnap became a staff reporter in 2023. At Archer, she sings in choir and the Unaccompanied Minors, Archer's a cappella group. In her free time, you can find her listening to music, reading, or hanging out with her friends.

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