First of all, kudos to Tom Gabel/Laura Jane Grace for coming out as a woman two years ago. It took balls (pardon the pun) to do so. “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” is the first album since her coming out and the title already makes it more than clear that the issue will be addressed in the new songs. Right from the start actually. The album opener comes with lines like ‘you’ve got no cunt in your strut / you’ve got no ass to shake… you want them to see you like they see every other girl / they just see a faggot’. It’s as direct as you can get and Laura Jane remains equally blunt throughout the rest of this concept album about a transgender prostitute. This however pretty much concludes the ‘good news’ part of this review because unfortunately “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” isn’t that good really.
While heavy on heart, guts and urgency, a lot of the songs just aren’t that memorable. Choruses more often than not can be boiled down to the song title being shouted over and over and when Grace sings ‘one more time!’ in “Unconditional Love’” right before she heads into such a chorus once again, I’m seriously starting to lose interest in this album.
Apart from that the songs themselves are equally uneventful and bland with basic riffs that carry on for too long. Track after track the album continues to lose momentum and by the time Against Me! tries to resuscitate the album halfway with the ferocious “Drinking With The Jocks”, I had already tuned out. “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” is not terrible… but not nearly good enough for Against Me!