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Reinventing Axl Rose

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Album Review

Against Me!'s Reinventing Axl Rose is an impressive debut that manages to combine fist-in-the-air singalong choruses, lagered-up rhythms, and urgent drumbeats with the underground, raw intensity these punks are known for live. It's a dynamic record that not only stands firm in its own right, but also hints at a propensity for songwriting in Tom Gabel — the group's hoarse, politically conscious singer/songwriter — just starting to be fully realized. From the rowdy, country-influenced drinking anthem "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong," to the somber closing notes of "8 Full Hours of Sleep," Against Me! performs every track with the passion of those who truly believe a song among friends can start a movement for change. The band's leftist political agenda is often offset by empowering social lyrics boasting sentiments of unity, individualism, and self-awareness. Tracks like the lively and rebellious "Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious..." declare that "We rock/Because it's us against them/We've found our own reasons to sing," while the album's title track urgently professes, "Everyone would leave with the memory that there was no place else in the world and this was where they always belonged." Often deviating from the standard punk musical blueprint, Against Me!'s blend of energetic folk/punk rock is nothing short of refreshing and engaging. Reinventing Axl Rose is a true classic that brings listeners right into the dirty basements and dive bars that birthed the band — and serves as the foundation to where they would head next.

Customer Reviews

Solid Album

If I were to advise someone as to which Against Me! album they should buy, I'd recommend this one. This is a really solid album, and really none of the songs are filler material. Of course, there is "Pints of Guinness..." which you really ought to have no matter who you are. "We Laugh At Danger and Break All the Rules" is my favorite song on this album. Against Me! is really just good times. Especially when you are listening to it full-blast with a carfull of friends who are all screaming the words along with you. Serious good times. But it's also thoughtful and political enough to satisfy the people that insist on having politics in their music.

Reinventing Axl Rose

This album (and band) is one of those far-and-between products of the modern music scene that have really stood out and given me a reason to sing and put my fist into the air. Against Me!'s music is inspirational and thought-provoking. Although many critics (generally those wannabe "punk kids" down the street) label them as "talentless" and lacking lyrical ability, I strongly disagree. The lead singer's voice is raw and passionate, as emotion tends to be, while the guitar, bass, and drums provide an unforgetful melody. It is difficult to truly define Against Me! and eveyone who enjoys their music has a different reason.

Arguably the Best Against Me! Album Ever

Lines like "We want a band that plays loud and hard every night, and doesnt care how many people counted at the door,"(Reinventing Axl Rose) and "This band will play on, because all we can do is what we've always done"(We Laugh At Danger And Break All The Rules) tell you that this band is all about the music. They're not in the scene for the profit. They even put their politics into their lyrics, with lines like "Lives and cultures matter more than capitalist interest. It's the CIA; its the FBI; the IMF, from HMO's to MTV. F*** you."(The Politics Of Starving) Check out this band, for sure.


Formed: 1997 in Gainesville, FL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Before becoming a full-fledged punk band, Against Me! was an acoustic solo project spearheaded by Laura Jane Grace, who began playing shows as a 17-year-old in Gainesville, Florida. Starting in 1997, Grace performed as a solo act wherever anyone would have her, drawing much influence from early acoustic protest music. By 2001, she'd beefed up her sound with the help of a full band -- including guitarist James Bowman, drummer Warren Oakes, and bassist Andrew Seward -- but there would always be some...
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