Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars
“Transgender Dysphoria Blues” is the 6th and latest release from punk rock veterans Against Me! Produced and written by front woman Laura Jane Grace the album features 10 brand new tracks which are a careful mixture of 90’s punk/indie rock. “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” clocks in at just under 30 minutes and is being released independently via the bands own label Total Treble Music.
For those unfamiliar with the events leading up to the release of this album do yourself a favor and find a copy of the May, 12th 2012 issue of Rolling Stone. Not only will that article catch you up to speed but it will also shed some light on the album’s title and several of the songs found on the record. If you already know singer Laura Jane Grace’s (formerly Tom Gabel) story then listening to the songs on “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” will certainly hit on a number of emotions while giving you a look into something a lot of us might not understand. The album plays as if you are listening to someone reading a diary filled with entries of struggle, confusion and sadness.
Tracks like “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” and “True Trans Soul Rebel” contain the bands signature punk driven sound while the lyrics give us a glimpse inside the tumultuous thoughts of Laura Jane pre-transformation. “Drinking with the Jocks” is an in your face tale of trying to fit in with what society deems as acceptable or “normal”. Though a good portion of the albums subject matter revolves around Laura Jane’s experiences songs such as “Osama bin Laden as the Crucified Christ” and the albums closing track, one of my favorites “Black Me Out” are filled with political references and insight that range from subtle to full on blatant.
Along with this being the first album to feature Laura Jane Grace it also is the first to feature the bands new drummer former Rocket from the Crypt drummer Atom Willard. Though the lineup and the look of the band has certainly changed since they first burst on the scene in 1997 the new version of Against Me! Is stronger than ever and “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” does a pretty good job at reaffirming that.
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
7.) Dead Friends
8.) Two Coffins
9.) Paralytic States
10.) Black Me Out