The sad truth is that punk bands tend to get worse over time. They get slower and lazier, and they lose their edge. But 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues' is Against Me!'s sixth album and it is the band's best album ever.
The Florida-born punks have been around since 1997: ALMOST 20 YEARS! It is rare that we see a punk band even stay together so long, let alone one that maintains its political bite and anti-everything defiance, and that, most importantly, continues to make awesome music. Against Me! is one of these rare bands and 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues,' out today through Total Treble Music, captures them raging harder than they ever have and making the fiercest music of their lives.
Lead singer Laura Jane Grace, who, prior to coming out as transgender in 2012, has dealt with a gender identity disorder called Gender Dysphoria since she was young. She explores this on the album, and her exploration results in some profound moments of uncertainty and despair, but even more brave and inspiring fight songs. It's a fantastic, fist-pumping experience -- go listen to it all, right now -- but these are the three best songs.
3. 'True Trans Soul Rebel'
Bob Marley was the 'Soul Rebel.' Laura Jane Grace is the 'True Trans Soul Rebel,' and, despite the doubt and dread that begins the narrative, she declares it by the end of this rampaging tune.
"You should have been a mother,
You should have been a wife.
You should have been gone from here years ago,
You should be living a different life."
Then she lives it.
It begins with a twangy riff and a howl. And it becomes a thrasing anthem about change in a world that resists it. "Silicon chest, and collagen lips? How would you even recognize me?" sings Grace. But then she stops worrying about everyone else and builds a new world: "No more troubled sleep, there's a brave new world that's raging inside of me." It's a powerful moment.
1. 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues'
This title-track opens the album with a bang. The guitar scrapes sound like machine guns. The riff and rhythm bounce and punch. "Your tells are so obvious, shoulders too broad for a girl," sings Grace. "You've got no hips to shake, and you know it's obvious, but we can't choose how we're made." Every song on the album invites you to sing-along -- this one commands you to.