“Is the culture now a product that’s disposable?” the always passionate, often philosophical leader of Against Me! asked on New Wave, the band’s brilliant 2007 major-label debut. “All the punks still singing the same song/Is there anyone thinking what I am?/Is there any other alternative?/Are you restless like me?"
The driven singer and songwriter—the now Chicago-based Laura Jane Grace—clearly was more restless back then than many fans knew. In 2012, the former Tom Gabel talked publicly for the first time about her gender dysphoria in an interview with Rolling Stone. The band’s first album since that admission arrives amid its leader’s dramatic and still-progressing personal evolution, and that has been the focus of most reviews.
“There's a brave new world that’s raging inside of me,” is the obligatory lyric to quote. To be fair, Grace does to some degree invite the obsession with her gender via the album’s title and cover art.