Gainsville punk rockers Against Me! released their sixth studio album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, back in January, but it's sure to be on many Best of 2014 lists.
Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender back in 2012, and she utilizes her life experiences to create an extremely powerful concept record about living as a transgender woman. Grace's songwriting is as strong as ever on this album and every song hits on a deeply personal level.
The record doesn't dance around the issue at hand, but immediately jumps into it with full force and emotion. The bridge of the opener, "Transgender Dypshoria Blues," is, "You want them to notice the ragged ends of your summer dress / You want them to see you like they see any other girl / They just see a faggot, they hold their breath not to catch the sick." It immediately illuminates the stigma and oppression the title character faces daily and hits hard and direct. On "True Trans Soul Rebel" Grace asks the heart-wrenching question "Does God bless your transsexual heart, true trans soul rebel?" and the pain in her voice is stunning.
Grace's vocals on the record are strong, raw, and extremely dynamic. She sings with a burning passion and anger for a majority of the album, but she also showcases a delicate side on the track "FuckMyLife666," and the gorgeous acoustic number, "Two Coffins," written about Grace's wife and daughter respectively.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues shines as one of the most important, meaningful, and compelling albums of the year. The lyrics and storytelling shine, the vocals are top notch, and the music is aggressive and fast paced, but subtle where it needs to be. This record showcases Grace as one of the strongest, bravest, and most honest musicians out there today and she wrote an album that cannot be ignored.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues is out now on Against Me's own Total Treble Music in the U.S. and Xtra Mile Recordings in the UK. You can pick up the record on Amazon (Vinyl, CD, MP3) and iTunes. Stream the full album on Spotify, above.
For the latest on Against Me! including news, music, and tour dates, head over to their Zumic artist page.