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The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

The Tack Online

“The Maybe Man” – AJR’s Best Work, or Is It Just a Mess?

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On Nov. 10, AJR, a popular indie pop group, released their latest album “The Maybe Man.” This album has been in the works for a while, with some of the songs having already been circulating on social media. Overall, I think it’s one of AJR’s strongest albums, if not, their best. Let’s take a look at the songs in the album as well as my ratings for each one. 

Maybe Man 

Overall – 7/10 

The song itself is catchy and can get stuck in your head, but about halfway through the song, the lead singer, Jack Met, almost sounds like he’s screaming. While that can work in music, the way it sounds just doesn’t work for me, as it kind of sounds like the microphone is peaking. However, I must applaud the creative side of this song because, in a way, it references the other songs in the album.  

Touchy Feely Fool 

Overall – 8/10 

This song starts incredibly catchy, which is something AJR does a great job of. One lyric of the song that I think many would find incredibly relatable is when Met says, “I’d give anything to not give a shit about you.” AJR is known for their relatable lyrics. The background clapping during the chorus makes it easier to bounce your head along with the beat.  

Yes I’m a Mess 

Overall – 6/10 

“Yes I’m a Mess” starts very differently from the previous two songs. This is one of the songs that AJR seemed to promote a great deal on social media leading up to the release of the album. It’s about accepting yourself despite all the stress that you feel.  

The Dumb Song 

Overall – 8.5/10 

“The Dumb Song” is my second favorite from the album. With a strong percussive opening, the song covers what, once again, is something very relatable for a lot of AJR’s younger listeners. The music video for this song is a unique one, as it tells the story of the entire year and a half that the group spent making the song and where some of the extra voices came from. It is one of AJR’s catchiest songs from the album. 

Inertia 

Overall – 10/10 

AJR follows up “The Dumb Song” with what is, hands down, my favorite song on the album. Before I even listened to the album for the first time, I had seen comments on AJR’s social media of people saying things like “Inertia broke me” or “Inertia is my favorite, without a doubt,” so I knew that I had to pay extra close attention to that one.  

“Inertia” is about feeling stuck where you are in life, which is something I and its younger audience can relate to. Sometimes the monotony of life can feel overwhelming. In the chorus, Met sings, “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 where I am goin’ is right where I am.” If you’ve ever felt the way Met expressed in this song, then I would highly recommend it. 

Turning Out Pt. III 

Overall – 6.5/10 

This slower song initially has a lo-fi feel, marking a significant change in pace from the rest of the album up to this point. While it has its moments where it picks up a little bit more, it stays relatively lowkey for the rest of the song. It’s a welcome change of pace for a song about worrying about your future and how you are going to turn out in your life.  

Hole in the Bottom of My Brain 

Overall – 6/10 

While this is a good song and is catchy just like most AJR songs, it’s not exactly my favorite. Not much in this song really sticks out to me in comparison to the rest of the album. 

The DJ is Crying for Help 

Overall – 5/10 

The overall message of this song is a nice one, but to me, there isn’t as much about this song that stands out when compared to the others. It’s relatable in some of its lyrics — those covering the idea of having difficulties getting a job — but it’s not one of the more memorable ones for me.  

I Won’t 

Overall – 7/10  

This rating is more influenced by the overall catchiness of the song than the message behind it. It felt much easier to bop my head along with the song while listening to it, which is something that, once again, AJR specializes in. However, it isn’t one of my favorite songs from the album, even if it has an incredibly catchy chorus.  

Steve’s Going to London 

Overall – 7/10  

Some of the lyrics of this song made me laugh at a few different parts, while other parts felt incredibly relatable and were kind of sad. The sadness is disguised by the “happier sounding” beat of the song. The lyrics discuss how things that previously made you happy now make you depressed. AJR has frequently focused on mental well-being in their music, and this song is no exception. 

God is Really Real 

Overall – 8/10 

This song has another big change of pace when compared to the previous few songs before it. A lot of it follows the idea of having a sick family member who seems to be nearing the end of their life. It also talks about the idea of struggling with the belief in a higher power when in relation to certain things happening in your life. I thought it was a nice and heartfelt song.  

2085 

Overall – 8/10  

Totaling five minutes and thirty-one seconds, this is a much longer song compared to other songs on the album. It is the year 2085, and they are reflecting on their lives, discussing their experiences and offering advice to their older selves. There’s one part of the song that I’m not a huge fan of around halfway through, but the rest of the song is done well. With a callback to the opening song (“The Maybe Man”) near the end of the song with slightly different lyrics, it’s a nice closing song for the album.  

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About the Contributor
My name is Joshua Woolcott, and I am a senior digital media major. Along with being a contributing writer for the Tack, I am the Station Manager for KBVU, the Operations Manager of BVTV, the Vice-President of SCJ, and am on the leadership team for IMPACT. I love movies, writing, and storytelling. 

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