Review Summary: Dear mother, this is just survival
This review in its original incarnation was a long-winded pile of bullshi
t. A contrived narrative about the state of punk rock and my reasonings as to why I believe that Against Me!'s Reinventing Axl Rose
is the genre's finest moment. Luckily, a beer and another run through the album later, I managed to get my head out of my a
ss long enough to scrap that idea. Reinventing Axl Rose
wasn't meant to be taken apart brick by brick and over-analyzed. It is a cathartic release of Tom Gabel's frustrations and fervor. A perfectly packaged smorgasbord of political manifesto, personal struggle, and freewheeling world view set to the tune of towering sing-alongs.
From Warren Oakes' militant snare that ushers in the album on the galloping "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" to the distant and solitary feedback that closes it on "8 Full Hours of Sleep", Reinventing Axl Rose
is a powder-keg of incendiary ideals and do it yourself ethic. While Gabel's anarchist call to arms may seem shallow in misguided at first glance, his blistering howls soar on the power of his (at the time) deep rooted convictions. At its most uproarious, Reinventing Axl Rose
hits with the youthfully optimistic "We Laugh At Danger (And Break All the Rules)" and the scathingly accusatory "Walking is Still Honest", all complimenting the more subdued emotional family narrative of "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" and the dogmatic "Baby, I'm An Anarchist". The album's namesake song ends with it's most important sentiment: "We all are stronger than everything they taught us that we should fear."