If you ever feel an arbitrary urge to hit someone over the head with a blunt object, Against Me's sixth album 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues' is as blunt as they come. The alt rockers - who have been around since 1997 - have faced a turbulent couple of years since their last release, 'White Crosses'. Following revelations of lead singer Laura Jane Grace (born Tom Gabel) being transgender, the band faced more complications with drummer Jay Weinberg and bassist Andrew Seward departing for unrelated reasons, leading to fears that Against Me! may cease to exist. Indeed, Grace expressed her concerns that the band may not be able to continue under the guise of Against Me!, but would continue to do so because her upcoming record has an important message.
'Transgender Dysphoria Blues' is possibly the band's most personal release yet, addressing the issues transgender people face on a day to day basis. It contains some of the bluntest, most direct lyrics one could ever encounter, while mixing their style up song to song, perhaps to reflect the different moods the subject of this album faces throughout their journey.
The album doesn't particularly roar into life in the manner of their previous releases, with the song 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues' containing a deceptively serene, country-esque melody, accompanied by the particularly frank, downtrodden lyrics which explain the subject's wishes for "them to see you, like they see any other girl".
The other tracks sound distinctly different as the album progresses; 'True Trans Soul Rebel' contains much faster, cheerful riffs, whilst the lyrics remain simple and dark with Grace spitting, "Slit your veins wide open, you bleed it out" clashing brilliantly with the overall upbeat melody.
'Drinking with the Jocks' receives the award for the most explicit track on 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues' (quite an achievement!) whilst again changing their style, this time going with a punky melody and aggressive vocals.
The constant chopping and changing of style ensures the album has something for everyone, and - in what may well prove to be their final effort under the name Against Me! - 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues' represents a triumphant end to a period of uncertainty for the Florida quartet.
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