Transgender Dysphoria Blues

"There's a brave new world that's raging inside of me," rages Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace – formerly frontman Tom James Gabel – on "FuckMyLife666," the melodic and emotional peak of the band's first LP since Grace came out as transgender. A series of bracing songs about a self-destructive girl in a boy's body, it's a thematic offspring of Lou Reed (see Berlin, etc.). Musically, it sticks to the band's established brand of warrior-cry punk metal. That limits the range of what might be an even braver new world, one glimpsed on the softer, acoustic "Two Coffins." Still, it's an inspiring LP – it takes balls to come out this way, in this genre. Godspeed, sister.

From The Archives Issue 1201: January 30, 2014