On New Year’s Eve I showed up to a party my boyfriend at the time was reluctantly throwing. I walked in to find a fog machine raging as hard as the guests and upping the ante on the dense pea soup already outside. Between that and wisps of cigarettes, I saw him dancing in the soft glow while the little black dress he was in struggled to catch up with his moves. “Are you freaked out that I’m wearing a dress?” he asked. “No. Are you freaked out that I’m not?” was my response and he proudly went back to being unabashedly himself. Laura Jane Grace and crew are doing the same thing on this new record, only they’re not asking anymore. Against Me! are taking the piss out of gender roles and quickly show you what it’s like to have to live day to day as someone you’re not. This album aims to get under your skin no matter where you stand on trans-acceptance. With lyrics like “They just see a faggot / They hold their breath not to get the sick,” hopefully you feel as dehumanized and fed up as she does. “Drinking with the Jocks” is the angriest track and the shortest—very straight and to the point. It is the perfect coming out song: abrasive to those who don’t understand and appealing to anyone who’s been fucked with for being who they are. To me, that’s as punk rock as it gets. Quite a few friends I know through music have come out as transgender in the last year and their actions are creating a positive shift in those around them. Musically, this record is their best since Against Me! as the Eternal Cowboy and almost makes up for White Crosses and New Wave. And for those who’ve been wondering, her voice hasn’t changed; it’s only gotten stronger and lent itself to many of us struggling with identity.
–Kayla Greet (Total Treble)