Album Review: Against Me! Transgender Dysphoria Blues

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By Brady Tighe

“All things meant to be destroyed, all moments meant to pass.”

It’s impossible to not listen to the new Against Me! album without thinking about the band’s lead singer Laura Jane Grace, and her recent announcement that she is transgender. And why would you be thinking about anything else? This is an album that slams face fucking first into those issues without a care for the safety of the listener, and bravo for it. This is an album of musical catharsis, a punk rock personal rebellion, and an outpouring of rage at this shitty intolerant world, with a few side trips down roads with dark turns thrown in for good measure. These songs aren’t leaden with the usual punk rock issues of cheap beer, cheap women, and the overarching and ever domineering presence of The Man. This is bigger than that, and when you have a punk album that becomes bigger than that, you risk the album becoming a convoluted mess, yet this album instead stands as a monument of victory for the band and for Grace, a monument in the shape of a gigantic middle finger.

Against Me! was always a cool band, but I don’t think they were ever this flat out good, or this pissed off. They aren’t fucking around, and this whole album is tempered in that feeling. They’re not fucking around lyrically, they aren’t fucking around with their guitars, they aren’t fucking around with filler songs, and Laura Jane Grace certainly isn’t fucking around as she pisses on walls and cuts off fat fucking fingers.

Cheers to this band. So few people seem to say something in music these days, and even less would have the sheer guts to say something like this as loud as this says it. We live in a world that isn’t in anyway tolerant, open, or welcoming. We have a long damn way to come. I mean, I couldn’t even buy this album in HMV without having to look at some sickening censored cover. This album is a three chords and a message in the right direction.

Go buy it. Listen to Black Me Out and the title track till you possibly couldn’t any more. Then spend some time on the middle songs. There isn’t a dud in the bunch. And when you’re done, turn those clapping hands into angry balled fists, and let’s change a few things around here.

In Addition: As a CIS gendered man, I have CIS gendered man privilege. If any of the language I have used to describe a person of transgender identification is offensive or incorrect, please let me know.

TRACK LISTING: 

  1. Transgender Dysphoria Blues
  2. True Trans Soul Rebel
  3. Unconditional Love
  4. Drinking With the Jocks
  5. Osama Bin Laden as the Crucified Christ
  6. Fuckmylife666
  7. Dead Friends
  8. Two Coffins
  9. Paralytic States
  10. Black Me Out
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