Review Summary: Hope never dies.
I'm going to try something a little bit different with this. Since John already covered the musical spectrum of Transgender Dysphoria Blues
, I'm going to look at the album in a more personal way. It's not that the music itself isn't important, but the weight of this record – in both its emotional heft and storytelling – rests solely on the shoulders of Laura Jane Grace's testimonials in her journey of becoming herself. Yeah, it helps that she's tied it together with the best songs she's written since Searching for a Former Clarity
almost a decade ago, but her fears, her self-loathing, and her perseverance is the real power here. But where one might think that such a singular experience would be a dividing wall for empathy, it's not. It's a rallying cry. Every single one of us has at one time or another felt like a stranger was looking back at us when we glanced at the mirror. Every single one of us has felt lost within our own shoes. It's all part of finding who we really are. While the journeys that we embark on are our own, the experience is universal. This is what Laura's lyrics tap into so effortlessly. She offers a biting and visceral testimonial about the power of self discovery, and learning how to be honest with ones self. It's that power in knowing that however much we try to acquiesce to our surrounding environments, whether you're begging for acceptance in high school, opening up your worldviews in college, or struggling to piece together how you became the person that you have become as an adult that there's a peace to be found in doing it on your own terms. We all crave love, we all crave companionship, and we all crave to see a smile projecting at us from across the room – and sometimes we just crave that smile to be our own as we catch but a glimpse of that reflection staring back at us. This is why Transgender Dysphoria Blues
is so important. It is built on the very essence of humanity; the desire to be free. It doesn't matter what circumstances you happen to find yourself in, because even in our deepest, darkest depths there is always a ray of hope shining through to lead us home.