Mikey Erg (Photo: Toni Skotcher)

“I had been going through writers block since The Ergs!,” says Mikey Erg, who despite being named Mike Yannich, has kept his former band’s surname since its 2008 break-up. “I was talking to my friend Anika [Pyle] who played in that band Chumped, and she challenged me to a songwriting pact where each week we would send each other a song, no matter what it was. It didn’t have to be good. It didn’t have to be anything. It just had to be a song you would send.”

Having been a member of one of the 2000’s best pop-punk bands, Erg hadn’t so much gone dormant since the band’s dissolution as he had put his own songs to the side. In fact, it had become a running joke that Erg would moonlight in almost every pop-punk band worth its salt, while also playing with The LCC, the The Chris Gethard Show’s house band. Though he’d released a handful of EPs and splits under his name, that solo full-length never materialized. That is, until Pyle challenged him to the project that would yield Tentative Decisions, Erg’s first solo full-length which will be released on June 24 via Don Giovanni Records.

“Once I had this collection together it just felt natural that it was a record,” says Erg, who came to believe the songs were good enough thanks to the support of Pyle and the record’s producer, Jeff Rosenstock. While Erg is known for playing any instrument put in front of him, on Tentative Decisions he opted to stick to vocals and guitar, ceding bass duties (along with keyboard and some guitar solos) to Rosenstock, and drums to his Worriers bandmate Louise Hanman.

The result is a record that positions Mikey Erg as this generation’s Paul Westerberg. On Tentative Decisions he’s writing songs so catchy that, on first glance, it’s easy to miss how heartbreaking they are. The A.V. Club is premiering the first song from Tentative Decisions, “Comme Si About Me,” below. As the song proves, Tentative Decisions shows Erg writing some of the best songs of his career—even if he had to fight off self-doubt to get there. With a bridge that’s equal parts self-deprecation and meta-commentary on the state of pop-punk, “Comme Si About Me” is a buzzy pop song that shows the subtlety in Erg’s songwriting. When he offers up the lines, “I wish you loved me / And blah, blah, blah, blah / And I wasn’t lonely / Blah, blah, blah, blah” he shows that he’s still capable of writing broken-hearted love songs, only with a newfound confidence that makes them hit even harder.

Pre-orders for Tentative Decisions are available now through Don Giovanni Records and iTunes.

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