14 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Laura Jane Grace is not particularly interested in articulating exactly what makes this first album released under her own name sonically or philosophically different from the ones she’s made over two decades of fronting anarcho-punks Against Me! Bought to Rot isn’t an experimental hard-left turn or a mellow, acoustic change of pace from AM!’s usual raucous fare, nor is it made with entirely different personnel (Against Me! drummer Atom Willard is along for both). Recorded in a week, it’s a loose and woolly product of, and meditation on, a life lived out of suitcases, with titles as direct as the music (“The Airplane Song,” “The Hotel Song,” “Amsterdam Hotel Room,” “I Hate Chicago”). Grace tells Apple Music about the importance of keeping moving.

What was it about these songs that felt to you as being separate from Against Me!?
I don’t know. Sometimes you just want to make rock ’n’ roll and record some songs and play some shows. None of us sat down going into it and were like, “OK, how can we make this different?” Like, if you’re in a relationship with somebody and then you get in a relationship with somebody else, the first conversation you have with that person isn’t about how you can make it different from the last relationship.
The album very much feels like something that was made by someone constantly on the road.
It’s about wasted potential and not necessarily knowing where you belong and trying to find your place in the world. When you’re searching for those things, it’s natural that you’re moving around a lot. The thing about traveling that makes me feel grounded is the minimalism of it all. There’s a lyric in “The Hotel Song”: “Always keep dropping what you don’t need.” I really look forward to the moments on tour when I’ve used up certain toiletries or finish a book and give it to someone else so my bag will be lighter—I got from it what I needed, but I no longer need to carry it.

How has this kind of transience affected how you write?
I think that as you get older, it’s not about feeling more confident in yourself; it’s just feeling more confident that it’s OK to not feel confident. Most people, when they start out writing songs, they’re discouraged because they think what they’re writing sucks; that never goes away, but eventually you just go with it anyway. I’m able to produce a lot more than in the past—those inhibitions held me back from even trying. I had all my teenage years to write the 10 songs for the first Against Me! album, and this one has 14 songs, plus six or seven ideas that were scrapped and are still sitting there. The recording processes for the last couple Against Me! records were months long. I wanted this to be fun and easy.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Laura Jane Grace is not particularly interested in articulating exactly what makes this first album released under her own name sonically or philosophically different from the ones she’s made over two decades of fronting anarcho-punks Against Me! Bought to Rot isn’t an experimental hard-left turn or a mellow, acoustic change of pace from AM!’s usual raucous fare, nor is it made with entirely different personnel (Against Me! drummer Atom Willard is along for both). Recorded in a week, it’s a loose and woolly product of, and meditation on, a life lived out of suitcases, with titles as direct as the music (“The Airplane Song,” “The Hotel Song,” “Amsterdam Hotel Room,” “I Hate Chicago”). Grace tells Apple Music about the importance of keeping moving.

What was it about these songs that felt to you as being separate from Against Me!?
I don’t know. Sometimes you just want to make rock ’n’ roll and record some songs and play some shows. None of us sat down going into it and were like, “OK, how can we make this different?” Like, if you’re in a relationship with somebody and then you get in a relationship with somebody else, the first conversation you have with that person isn’t about how you can make it different from the last relationship.
The album very much feels like something that was made by someone constantly on the road.
It’s about wasted potential and not necessarily knowing where you belong and trying to find your place in the world. When you’re searching for those things, it’s natural that you’re moving around a lot. The thing about traveling that makes me feel grounded is the minimalism of it all. There’s a lyric in “The Hotel Song”: “Always keep dropping what you don’t need.” I really look forward to the moments on tour when I’ve used up certain toiletries or finish a book and give it to someone else so my bag will be lighter—I got from it what I needed, but I no longer need to carry it.

How has this kind of transience affected how you write?
I think that as you get older, it’s not about feeling more confident in yourself; it’s just feeling more confident that it’s OK to not feel confident. Most people, when they start out writing songs, they’re discouraged because they think what they’re writing sucks; that never goes away, but eventually you just go with it anyway. I’m able to produce a lot more than in the past—those inhibitions held me back from even trying. I had all my teenage years to write the 10 songs for the first Against Me! album, and this one has 14 songs, plus six or seven ideas that were scrapped and are still sitting there. The recording processes for the last couple Against Me! records were months long. I wanted this to be fun and easy.

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