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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.

Fall sports wrap-up

Middle+School+swim+team+takes+second+place+in+the+annual+Pacific+Basin+League+championships.+Photographer%3A+Andy+Gordon.+Used+with+permission.+
Middle School swim team takes second place in the annual Pacific Basin League championships. Photographer: Andy Gordon. Used with permission.

Volleyballs have been spiked, cross country meets won, swim meets swum, tennis balls served and horses jumped. Now that the fall sports season has come to a close, let’s take a moment to reflect on the past season.

This 2014-2015 school year there are five sports and 12 teams consisting of both middle school and upper school for the fall season.

Middle School swim team prepares to face off against Crossroads, Brentwood, and New Roads. They are three time PBL winners and prepare to win another one this year. Photographer: Archer Athletics
Middle School swim team prepares to face off against Crossroads, Brentwood, and New Roads. They are three time Pacific Basin League champions and prepare to win another one this year. Photographer: Archer Athletics

Middle School Swim

Three-time Pacific Basin league defending champions, the Archer Middle School swim team dominated the season. Starting practice on Sept. 3, the team had many personal records throughout the season, according to Head Coach Stefanie Ferri. They took 2nd place this year in the PBL championships.

Junior Varsity and Varsity Tennis

Composed of ninth and 10th graders, the Junior Varsity tennis team came out of the season with a 3-2 league record — qualifying the girls for league finals.

The 2014 Varsity Tennis Team won five games out of eight total, according to Archer Athletics. It was also the first Archer tennis team to qualify for the CIF playoffs in seven years. They practice off-campus at the Barrington Recreation Center, whose tennis courts are now sponsored by Archer.

Varsity Tennis girls started off the season in early September. Although they lost their first match to Notre Dame Academy on Sept. 2, they fought back and won their second match on Sept. 4 against New Community Jewish School.

Both the JV and Varsity Teams practice together and sometimes the JV players move up and play in Varsity matches, according to Archer Athletics.

Varsity Cross Country

Archer Varsity Cross Country team competed in the 67th Annual Mount Sac Invitational on Oct. 16 and, according to Archer Athletics, each athlete set personal records during the meet — nine qualified for the CIFSS championships. Out of the nine qualifiers, seven ran in the meet, the first Archer cross country team to qualify for CIFSS.  The Mount Sac course is three miles long and had a record high of 25,000 participants last year, according to the Mount Sac Invitational website.

Varisty Cross Country takes off from the starting gate at the beginning of the race. They placed second in the meet at Viewpoint. Photographer: ShiShi Shomloo '15
Varsity Cross Country takes off from the starting gate at the beginning of the race. They placed second in the meet at Viewpoint. Photographer: Shishi Shomloo ’15

Captains Yasmeen Namazie ’15 and Layla Masotta ’15 led the cross country team to a third place victory at Brentwood School for their first meet of the season on Sept. 2.

Equestrian

Captains of the equestrian team, Emma Dunn ’15 and Lili Marshall ’15, led their team to their first show. Equestrian is the only Archer sport to run year round; there are 12 girls currently on the team.

Each team member practices separately and only meet together at or before a show. They have a total of four shows this year in October, December, January and April.

Here are the results from the show in Oct.:

  • Caroline Bersch ’18 and Lexington: third in JV IEL Horsemanship Medal Class; second in JV Hunt Seat Equitation, Flat; seventh in JV Working Hunter; fifth in JV Handy Hunter
  • Chloe Davenport ’19 and Yukon: third in Freshman Hunt Seat Equitation, Fences
  • Logan Connors ’17 and Tour Guide: tenth in JV Hunt Seat Equitation, Fences; third in JV Hunt Seat Equitation, Flat
  • Ella Angel ’16 and Killian’s Irish Red: tenth in JV Hunt Seat Equitation, Flat
  • Maise Shapiro ’20 and Go Van Gogh: third in Freshman Jumpers, Table IV, Sec 1
  • Lili Marshall ’15 and Aurora: fifth in Varsity Jumpers, Table V, Sec 2(b); third in Varsity Jumpers, Table V, Sec 1
  • Ruby Krull ’18 and Passion: fifth in Dressage Second Level Test 1; second in Dressage Second Level Test 2
  • Emma Dunn ’15 and Southern Comfort: first in Dressage Second Level Test 1
Varisty Volleyball team wins Milken Tournament in October. Their new pink jerseys are worn in recognition of breast cancer awarness month. Photographer: Archer Athletics
Varsity Volleyball team wins Milken Tournament in October. Their new pink jerseys are worn in recognition of breast cancer awarness month. Photographer: Archer Athletics

Junior Varsity and Varsity Volleyball

JV volleyball finishes off the season with a 5-7 overall record and a 4-3 league record, not counting their game against Pacifica Christian on Nov. 4. The new Freshman volleyball team came away from the season with a 1-5 overall record and played in the Frosh/Soph Milken Tournament at Milken Community High School.

Varsity volleyball finishes out the season with a 12-7 overall record and a 5-2 league record, not counting their game tonight against Pacifica Christian. According to Archer Athletics, the team was ranked tenth in the CIF 4A division.

On Oct. 17, Captains Ava Mandelbaum ’15 and Lauryn Brame ’15 led their team to a third place victory in the annual Brentwood Tournament. Once again, this year, they qualified for the CIF 4A playoffs. The first round of playoffs was on Saturday, Nov. 8. On Nov. 11 the team beat Dunn three games to none. Their final game of the season was a loss to Garden Grove on Nov. 13.

 

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