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Music / Against Me!

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The current line-up. From left to right: James Bowman, Laura Jane Grace, Inge Johansson, and Atom Willard.

Against Me! is a Punk Rock band from Gainesville, Florida. Started as a solo acoustic/folk punk project by seventeen-year-old Laura Jane Grace, Against Me! has been a full group since 2001. The lineup has changed over time, with Laura Jane Grace and lead guitarist James Bowman as the only consistent members. The band has released seven studio albums, most recently, Shape Shift With Me in September 2016. They've also released several EPs, two live albums, several demo tapes, and in 2004 a movie of their tour. Grace also released a solo album called Heart Burns and has written a book, Tranny, which was released in November of 2016.


This band provides examples of:

  • Audience Participation Song: We Laugh at Danger (And Break All the Rules)
  • Country Matters: In "Transgender Dysphoria Blues":
    You've got no cunt in your strut
    You've got no hips to shake.
    And you know it's obvious,
    But we can't choose how we're made.
  • Cover Version: Several - The Clash's Janie Jones, the folk song Wagon Wheel, Cocksparrer's Because You're Young, the Dead Kennedys' Moon Over Marin, and The Replacements' Bastards of Young. The band also covered The Replacements' Androgynous alongside Joan Jett.
  • Concept Album: Played with Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Laura has described the album about being of a transgender prostitute. However, once she came out as a transgender woman, it became clear it was about her and her struggles of growing up with gender dysphoria, the struggles of transitioning and the divorce of her now ex-wife and the death of her friend Pope.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Transgender Dysphoria Blues - the last four tracks are some of their most depressing, lyrically.
    • The song Searching For a Former Clarity is a second-person narration of a person dying of AIDS.
  • Drunken Song: We Laugh at Danger..., per the album liner notes.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: While trying to cover up some of Laura Jane's old tats, the tattoo artist apparently goofed. One thing led to another, and she decided to just black out the entire arm.
  • Epic Rocking: The live version of "The Ocean" clocks in at 8:36, thanks to audience participation.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Pickle barrels can be drums, apparently.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Against Me! is Reinventing Axl Rose, the Eternal Cowboy, and Crime! as Forgiven by Against Me! There are also two self-titled EP's.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Not so much anymore, but try to tell what the lyrics are from the self-titled EP. We'll wait.
  • Lady Swears A Lot: Laura, natch.
  • Large Ham: Laura Jane Grace loves to shout on the top of her lungs, and the step towards Alternative Rock certainly made her even hammier.
  • Long Title: At least once an album. Notable examples include We Laugh at Danger (And Break All the Rules), Unsubstantiated Rumors Are Good Enough For Me (To Base My Life Upon), and Even At Our Worst We're Still Better than Most (The Roller).
  • Male Band, Female Singer: Ever since Laura came out.
  • Meaningful Name: The band's name reflected Grace's feeling about her life up to that point: "The whole world is against me!"
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally hovers around a four or five. AM! has plenty of acoustic songs or versions of songs, but there's a definite angry passion to most of their sound.
  • N-Word Privileges: Again, "Transgender Dysphoria Blues":
    You want them to notice
    The ragged ends of your summer dress
    You want them to see you
    Like they see every other girl
    They just see a faggot
    They'll hold their breath not to catch the sick
    • Also, "Drinking with the Jocks":
      I'm drinking with the jocks
      I'm laughing at the faggots
      Just like one of the boys
      Swinging my dick in my hand
    • The title of Grace's memoir, Tranny.
  • Once per Episode: In addition to long titles, every album has some reference to or song about gender dysphoria.
  • Ode to Sobriety: How Low describes the narrator wants to stop drinking and doing drugs every night, and can't, and how terrible that is.
  • Protest Song: White People for Peace. Anna Is A Stool Pigeon off of Grace's Heart Burns.
    • "White People for Peace" is a funny case, as it's more of an anti-protest song protest. It's a criticism of bands who do anti-war protest songs trying to stop conflict instead of taking direct action (since direct action is an important part of most forms of anarchism).
    • "I Was A Teenage Anarchist" reminisces about Laura's real-life teenage years as a punky rebel, and elaborates on why it's so easy to become disillusioned with the whole thing.
      Do you remember when we were young and we wanted to set the world on fire?
  • Revolving Door Band: Laura is the band's only original member. James Bowman has been a member since Reinventing Axl Rose and is their longest-serving non-original member. A timeline of membership:
    • Laura Jane Grace (vocals/guitar) 1997-present
    • Kevin Mahon (drums) 1998-2001
    • Dustin Fridkin (bass/vocals) 1998; 2001-02
    • James Bowman (guitar/vocals) 2001-present
    • Warren Oakes (drums) 2001-09
    • Andrew Seward (bass/vocals) 2002-13, 2018-present
    • George Rebelo (drums) 2009-10
    • Jay Weinberg (drums) 2010-12
    • Atom Willard (drums) 2012-present
    • Inge Johansson (bass/vocals) 2013-2018
  • Self-Titled Album: Three, although the first is a mostly forgotten demo and the third is typically referred to as the Acoustic EP.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: Sort of. Searching For a Former Clarity has a song end with a drum beat that leads into the next song.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Laura's speaking voice in interviews is noticeably higher than her usual singing voice in most songs.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart, with Tegan Quin.
  • Street Musician: Back when it was a solo project.
  • Stop and Go: We Laugh at Danger (And Break All The Rules), Don't Lose Touch
  • The Unreveal: The Ocean was Grace outing herself as transgender, but nobody realized it was literal. Grace also claimed to the band and producers that she was high when writing the lyrics, so that they wouldn't take it literally.
  • Unplugged Version: Pretty common, but Black Crosses especially. And the Acoustic EP, natch.
  • Vocal Evolution: The singing style changed from release to release from up through As the Eternal Cowboy. Also a subverted trope with Grace's transition - she's stated that she likes her singing the way it is and doesn't intend to change it.
  • Word Salad Lyrics
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Very common in many of their songs. examples include, "Thrash Unreal", "Pints Of Guinness Make You Strong", "Transgender Dysphoria Blues", "Unconditional Love", "Crash", "Haunting Haunted Haunts",

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