Monday, May 16

Traffic Jams: Against Me! – ‘I Was a Teenage Anarchist’

Against Me! singing “I Was a Teenage Anarchist,” live in 2015.

Things in the world are a little… messy right now. I’m trying to stay rather positive in light of all the headlines, scientific studies and the rest of everything. I don’t know about you, but even though it’s Wednesday, getting to Friday just hasn’t felt like enough lately. And the pattern of things has brought me back to this formative band of my younger adult years, Against Me!

I first was introduced to Against Me! by an old boyfriend back in my mid-college years. I was started on their album New Wave, where my angsty early-20s self decided I could really, somehow relate. Their sound also vibed with all of the music I was listening to and the numerous concerts I spent hours at in the late aughts, early 2010s. I was hooked.

The crowd in Lansing in 2010 with Against Me! onstage. Oh god, that was almost 15 years ago.

The crowd in Lansing in 2010 with Against Me! onstage. Oh god, that was almost 15 years ago.
Photo: Lalita Chemello

I would eventually see Against Me! in 2010 at this little venue above a bar in downtown Lansing, MI (the name escapes me now) and the energy—I’m not sure if it was the lyrics, or who is now Laura Jane Grace’s presence and energy on stage—but man, it was a hell of a memorable show. The band was touring on their at-the-time, recently released album, White Crosses, and it is that album that has had a significant hold of my mind, soul and presence through today.

On that particular album is this song, “I Was a Teenage Anarchist,” which is not only catchy with the recorded version having this “ah ah ahhhh ah” little ditty at the beginning, but is just a JAM (pun very intended). While maybe my angst was slightly misplaced in my early 20s, today, the lyrics honestly have even more meaning and feels. I, at the ripe age of 34, still feel like a teenage anarchist… looking for a revolution (and maybe have a little need to set the world on fire).

If you’ve never heard a lick of Against Me!’s music, and enjoy the likes of bands like New Found Glory, Frank Turner, The Gaslight Anthem… you’ll definitely get into their music. I have found myself singing or humming this album in my head all week—partly for the rhythm and tunes, and a lot because of what that music has meant to me in this current state of the world.

Sometimes, you just need a little anthem to feel a little less powerless—maybe get you a little more fired up for taking action. Maybe that action is as simple as getting through the commute, your workday, a week or some days, just life.

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