Against me! ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’

I actually talked about this album on my last radio show and boy did I mumble and stutter my way through it. Because it is difficult for someone like me (heterosexual privileged middle-class white girl) to talk about an experience that I could probably never think of having but that is the heart and soul of this album and rightfully so.

I mean, how cool is it, that Laura Jane Grace has the guts to take something so incredibly intimate and pour it out for the world to listen to and how cool is it that the rest of the band full-heartedly go with it and therefore make it a group-effort of balled up energy.

Because the album is just that, it’s very punkrock and reminded me (me being kind of a noob in that genre) of the Japandroids. A lot of energy rolled up in a short and sweet album that offers enough stylistic diversity to not feel redundant but still tightly knit enough not to feel like a hot mess. I was pleasantly surprised how fun it is to listen to the whole album and not just pick a cool song and go with that. And then you have those simply mind-blowing songs like “Unconditional Love” that channel the rowdy New York 70s of underground punk rock and the play with gender that those bands mastered.

I have unconditional love for this song…I know that theneedledrop hates it but as this is my first Against me!-album, I guess, I don’t have to despair over their band-history as a real long-term fan might. By the way, Anthony’s review is nevertheless quite interesting and I might finally warm up to him…I hate it when I lose another passionate and reasonless dislike for someone who doesn’t share my opinion.

For Laura Jane, it obviously wasn’t a game and that makes this album a lot more than just a fun little ditty. Sure, the lyrics are pretty straight forward but that’s just a mark of the genre. I could never claim to know how it felt for Laura Jane to feel so uncomfortable with her body and to feel so disconnected to it and to take that step to change physically to finally find symmetry emotionally, intellectually and physically. And that she talks about it even though this is probably incredibly annoying and repetitive by now because she feels that transgender people need more voices to know that they are not alone and that they can take that step to fully change to who they really are is pretty kick-ass.

And I love that all this makes this already cool and exciting album even cooler because the support and power and the fact that they released this album on their own and on their own record – man, it’s just this cool album that kind of gives you this boost to get through whatever weighs you down. It’s always great to have music like this that surpasses the “fun fun alcohol fun”-themes and focuses on things that you can relate to on some level. And further than that, it gives you a glimpse on things that you maybe never thought you could relate to. Man, that’s what art is all about. And yes, it might not be the most experimental and edgy piece of punkrock but it is pretty impressive nevertheless.

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