“Transgender Dysphoria Blues”
There was no way that I couldn’t be cautiously pessimistic about the new Against Me! record. Between the rash of line-up changes, personal scrutiny and the plain old fact that I really disliked their last album “White Crosses,” I had this sinking feeling that “Transgender Dysphoria” was going to be this emo-pop schlock record devoid of the raw intensity of the band’s earlier work. I was also kind of worried that I was going to feel disassociated from the lyrics and topics covered on the record.
Here was my thought process; it might not make any sense, but bear with me. Music is very personal to me, and the bands I love tend to write music that I can associate with. I’ve never been one to latch onto lyrics and music that are just catchy and stupid. I have a bond with they lyrics I love because they relate to who I am and what I am about. When I realized that the new Against Me! album was going to focus heavily on Laura Jane Grace’s gender acceptance and struggle with life, my first instinct was to wonder if there was anything I could relate to on the new record. Could I really sing along to songs about gender confusion and transgender issues?
Turns out I was completely wrong. The new Against Me! album is not only easily accessible, it’s also the band’s greatest effort—a dozen flawless songs about rebellion, angst and survival. The guitars are raw and fearsome, punctuating Laura Jane’s boisterous vocals with a punk rock shred that toes the line between bouncy pop-punk and the orgcore style that Against Me! helped make famous. “Osama Bin Laden as the Crucified Cross” might be the hardest song the group has ever penned featuring a searing lead guitar that just kills and a groove that never falters. “Two Coffins” is a somber-yet-jangly acoustic track with lyrics that balances the record’s more aggressive tracks. “All the things I have yet to lose will someday be gone too/ Back into annihilation/ All things will fade, maybe it’s better off that way/ I wish you’d stay with me,” Laura Jane sings.
Regardless of who or what the topic is, the underlying message of “TDB” is that of triumph, and that’s something that I can definitely relate to. You just can’t listen to a song like “True Trans Soul Rebel” and not picture Joe Strummer smiling from beyond the grave.
Black Vinyl: Regular Edition
Translucent Blue Vinyl: Limited to 1,000
Blue & White Swirl Tour Edition: Limited to 1,000