In 2014, Against Me!
released the landmark Transgender Dysphoria Blues
, tackling Laura Jane Grace
's coming out as trans head-on through a song cycle of raw, powerful punk rock. After an exhausting tour behind that album, all while transgender issues became a more prominent part of American society, what comes next for Laura's songwriting? Falling in love.
On Shape Shift With Me
, Against Me! tackles the complexities of relationships. For the second album in a row, Laura comes at her subject matter from her own perspective while making it simultaneously universal.
Shape Shift With Me
tackles the political-as-personal right from the start with 'ProVision L-3' - the only song you'll hear this year about airport body scanners as a signpost of our country's 'culture of suspicion.' Laura told Entertainment Weekly
that 'Boyfriend' actually isn't far off from her old friends Tegan and Sara
's song of the same name that came out early this year, right down to the chorus of 'treated me like a boyfriend.'
'Crash' is simply one of the best songs of 2016. A great space-y metaphor with a great hook wrapped in a great guitar tone. It's probably the best power-pop-punk song they've ever written. Lead single '333' takes a look around the messiness of the world and still finds reasons to be thankful to live, ideally with someone (an ex?) by your side. Then there's 'Rebecca,' which is an intense roar of immediate passion as LJG screams, 'I just wanna grab you by the SKULL! / Rebecca kiss me.' But the next line of 'let's not fall in love' makes it clear this is simply lust. Other highlights include the galloping cow-punk of 'Haunting, Haunted, Haunts' and epic 'Dead Rats.'
Shape Shift With Me
proves that seven albums in, Against Me! still have plenty to say as one of the most vital rock bands of our time. They never disappoint live and will be back in Philadelphia co-headlining with Bad Religion
on October 5th at The Fillmore
(win tickets by voting for this week's Top 11 @ 11
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