Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part One

19. Against Me!
Transgender Dysphoria Blues
(Total Treble)

When Laura Jane Grace came out as a transgender woman to Rolling Stone in 2012, her friends and fans alike gained newfound insight into the many references to her struggles with dysphoria hidden throughout her songs. Transgender Dysphoria Blues is the musical conclusion these lost pieces have been leading to, a scream of frustration and anger that has been bubbling under the surface of Grace's songs since the earliest days of Against Me!, finally released with an urgent rush of punk fury.

The record is as raw and unrestricted as the lyrics, boiling down the band's musical formula to its purest components, and contains some of the finest and most purposeful Against Me! songs since 2005's Searching For a Former Clarity. From the flag-waving anthem "True Trans Soul Rebel" to the introspective "Paralytic States" to the record's fiery closer, "Black Me Out," Grace holds nothing back and proves that she is entering a new era for Against Me!, bravely relinquishing the ghosts that haunted her previous songs with each step forward. (Peter Sanfilippo)