Back in May of 2012, the lead singer of punk band Against Me! came out as transgender. Ever the workaholic, the newly out Laura Jane Grace got together with the rest of the band members and started work on their next album.
Well, Against Me!’s latest album will be coming out on Jan 21, and so in the week leading up to its release, Transgender Dysphoria Blues is being streamed in its entirety over on NPR.
As the name would suggest, TDB focuses heavily on Jane’s coming out and transitioning. The running theme throughout the album is the way bodies change — be it through surgery or death. The front half of the album revolves around Jane’s own personal body-image issues, while the back half finds her looking at bodily changes that come with death, decay and mutilation.
It’s fitting that the album artwork shows a cross-section of a human breast: the human body is simultaneously beautiful and visceral, a completely natural and complex structure yet one prone to evolution and alteration. As Jane sings on the title track, “You want them to notice the ragged ends of your summer dress.” She wants you to see the beauty and appreciate the slightly weathered parts that made it possible.