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Against Me!- Shape Shift With Me 2xLP

Against Me!- Shape Shift With Me 2xLP
Against Me!- Shape Shift With Me 2xLP
Band/Title: Against Me!
You can earn 25 AYP PUNK ROCK POINTS on this product!
Price: $24.99
Product Details
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In many ways, the four-piece’s newest release, Shape Shift with Me, is a continuation of the return to true punk form that started with Transgender, stripped of the arena rock sensibilities (and the influences of producer Butch Vig) that permeated 2007’s New Wave and 2010’s White Crosses. It’s also, according to Grace, a "relationship album” in the tradition of the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, as filtered through Grace’s experiences as a trans woman. As the leader of a "punk band that was expected to be political,” Grace apparently never felt that she had the space or the audience to talk feelings — although it seems like she’s been trucking with the second-wave feminist ideology that the political is personal all along.

That initial joy from Transgender can still be found in bits and pieces here, but Grace has come back down to earth a little. Women (other than Grace) permeate Shape Shift with Me. There’s "Rebecca”, to whom Grace implores: "I just want to grab you by the skull/ Rebecca, kiss me, but let’s not fall in love.” In "All This and More”, she sings of "your hips in my hands.” This feels like a reawakening all its own; if Transgender was about Grace’s struggle to become a woman, then it seems appropriate that the next chapter would explore her journey to discover what that means for her sexuality.

It’s true that Shape Shift with Me is smaller in scope than Transgender Dysphoria Blues, and certainly more so than the anarchist anthems that made Against Me!’s name in the first place. You can’t fault Grace for turning inward when the last four years have found her surrounded by tempestuous change — her shifting identity, her band being dropped by the Warner Group-owned Sire Records, the dissolution of her marriage. At one point, she tattooed her whole right arm a solid black, hoping that the physical pain would provide some relief from her inner turmoil.

As a cohesive work, Shape Shift with Me lacks the level of urgency and revelation of its predecessor. Fans who have come to expect certain poppier sensibilities from Against Me! may be disappointed — even in the songs played in a major key, this album is pure punk. As listeners, we might not be able to carry the same things away from it, but maybe that’s okay — at the end of the day, it’s for her, not us.

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