Misser, the brainchild of Tim Landers and Brad Wiseman (the guitarists of Transit and This Time Next Year, respectively), is a supergroup of Pop-Punksters that are becoming veterans of the scene. Every Day I Tell Myself I'm Going To Be A Better Person is their raw, yet polished, debut record that showcases emotive lyrics, dark themes, and fantastic musicianship. Using a page from Taking Back Sunday's book, Wiseman takes over frontman duties while Landers becomes the John Nolan to his Adam Lazzara.
The introduction Permanently is short and to the point. Reminiscent of Brand New’s stripped-down acoustic diddies, the song’s only lyrics are a mantra of being hungover and not being sober for “more than three days of the last three years of my life”. The bluntness of the lyrics works and warns the listener that this isn’t going to be a light affair for the next forty minutes. Rather, there will be twelve songs of introspection laced with self-deprecation that are going to make the listener think.
Time Capsules immediately reverses what the introduction set up: it’s a moderately paced, full-band tune that explodes in the listeners ears. The lead lick has Landers’s stamp of alternative on it, à la Transit’s Listen And Forgive. Although the lyrics are wordy and a mouthful at times, the song keeps it somewhat positive: “Just bury me in your backyard in a box full of things you couldn’t completely part with”, leaving one with the feeling of nostalgia and missing someone in a happier manner than normal. Bridges continues the musical trend, but focuses on the narrator’s destruction of relationships. The song also shows off more of Landers’s chops as a singer, strengthening the dynamic of dual, combating vocalists with extremely different voices.
Weightless follows as the first Pop-Punk anthem to appear on the disc. It’s the also the first breakup song on the album that shows off a little bit more lyrically than its predecessors: “Like how I wish you were the person that I met last May. / Days and weeks kept changing, while you kept changing face. / I guess it’s true what they say, ‘all the world’s a stage.’ Yeah, you deserve an Emmy for the shit you put past me”. Whereas Weightless is the angry voice in the breakup of a couple, Just Say It is the hurt, desperate one trying to force out the problem into the open. The tune has been rerecorded and mixed from the Problems. Problems. Problems. EP (2011) where it showed promise. The brutal honesty of the lyrics make this ironic head-bopping foot-tapper go from a good song to a great one: “What gets to me is when you tell me you’re not sorry / You fucked me up enough for an apology at the least”.
After exploring themes of insanity, nostalgia, and relationships, Misser continues to show its broad scope of themes on the album with the aptly titled I’m Really Starting To Hope The World Ends In 2012. The song is blunt in what it’s trying to convey: Landers is depressed and tired of the weak excuses of art and portrayals of life to the point where he actually hopes the world will end to stop the madness. Musically, the tune shines with layers of great guitar-work and harmonies. The lyrics, on the other hand, while being thought-provoking, are repetitive without effect. Nevertheless, after all the words have sunk in, there’s about a minute and a quarter of an instrumental, purely Pop-Punk jam that sounds like an amazing way to end their set as well as lull the listener to the end of the first half of the album.
Reconnect This picks up the pace after I’m Really Starting To Hope The World Ends In 2012 slowed it down. It’s pretty standard Pop-Punk fare musically with dueling vocals in the chorus and a battlecry to end the song on a charged note that will surely have the entire crowd screaming along. The song finds itself as a conversation between two people, one questioning the other’s decision to potentially commit suicide and leave the narrator alone. What is lackadaisical and a bit uninspired in music is made up for in terms of thematic content and lyrics.
Returning to the romantic side of Misser, Stay Asleep is a slow ballad about missing someone. It’s simple and beautifully layered with complementary guitars that lead into the epic instrumental bridge and breakdown. It’s a thoughtful, simple tune that gives some breathing room before the tour de force of Bad News and She Didn’t Turn Out To Be That Cool. Both follow Stay Asleep in regards of romance, while the former is focused on the narrator being “bad news” to his significant other. The latter, on the other hand, is another redone song from last year’s EP that continues Stay Asleep’s theme of missing someone. The only drawback of these two songs are that they begin to sound reminiscent of earlier tracks, especially Reconnect This.
I’m Sick? returns to Weightless’ notions of the angry side of a relationship coming to an end. Here the Transit side of Misser truly rears its head thanks to Landers once-again stellar lead guitar riffs. The downside, though, is that the album’s starting to sound a little too similar to Transit (and a tad too long) after eleven tracks. The idea of being (mentally) sick continues in Sanity, reminding the listener of Permanently at the beginning thusly showing that the record has come full circle. While Sanity might seem out of place as the penultimate song, it does give the listener one final breath before the band closes with The Waits.
What could be a sequel to She Didn’t Turn Out To Be That Cool, The Waits is a strong, moderately-paced closer about waiting for one’s significant other in a long-distance relationship. Here Wiseman shows his singing chops with the fantastically scared and anxious "I hope like hell you mean it when you say that I’m worth the wait”. The music is now awesomely established as Misser-esque by having the technical and alternative side of Transit mixed with the energy and emotion of This Time Next Year’s Pop-Punk.
While the album feels long at thirteen tracks, it comes out to just under forty minutes, which is a fairly lengthy time for music of this genre. Nevertheless, the production quality is outstanding by holding onto some of the raw element of Problems. Problems. Problems. in terms of the bass and drums, but polished with the perfectly used reverb on the vocals and guitar tones of the leads. If being too long is Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going To Be A Better Person’s only downside, then one can easily say that Misser’s (potential) second album is definitely worth the wait.
Written by Joe Wasserman