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Album Review: Against Me!’s ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’

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Three and a half stars

Against Me! Transgender Dysphoria Blues

All hail your new punk queen, Laura Jane Grace. That might elicit laughter from those who wrote off her band Against Me! after its spit-shined, major-label 2010 effort White Crosses. But on this self-released sixth album, wielding demon-slaying riffs and clarion articulation, Grace—joined by three bandmates—wallops with assuredness, undeniable purpose and formidable hooks. The thrash-pop “Drinking With the Jocks,” one of several songs that addresses her lifelong issues with the gender identity disorder that titles this collection (she publicly came out in 2012 as a woman, dropping her birth name Tom Gabel), is mandatory streaming for every school-age misfit. There’s a handful of similarly compelling manifestos on this searing, breakneck record, one offering solace to anyone struggling with acceptance—or who has longed for a rock record this honest and hopeful. Grace’s transition isn’t over, but it’s already sounding triumphant.

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