Regarding The Feminine Divine
The concept of The Feminine Divine album has been misunderstood by some reviewers. One or two said that they thought the lyrical contact of The Feminine Divine (song) and Goddess Rules are incongruous. They are not.
The album is not about women’s rights. In the song, The Feminine Divine, the lyrics talk very clearly about how women have been wronged, held down, and mistreated, but the album is about a lot more than that.
The record traces a journey of a tough guy (or at least someone pretending to be), through his self-appraisal and journey into and throughout a female-led relationship.
The most accurate appraisal of what the album is about, was written recently by, Pete Lawrence, of the Campfire Convention (https://campfireconvention.network):
"I don't feel called to write many album reviews these days but here is my review of the startling new Dexys album (as posted to our Campfire social network last weekend)"
Dexys: The Feminine Divine (100% Records)
I make no secret of my respect and admiration for Kevin Rowland and his muse, for his uncanny ability to reinvent himself over and over, to present new concepts, themes and styles that often feel so ahead of their time that it’s often taken time even for his confirmed hardcore fans to catch up and latch on. I get a strong sense that ‘The Feminine Divine’, a comeback after several years, is another such example.The Feminine Divine has an uncanny sense of time, mood and zeitgeist. It’s a marker for the energy shift that’s already in motion, the move out of bravado and warlike rhetoric into a new space where the vital feminine life-force is revered and cherished, where balance is restored and where men are also able to rediscover their centre through opening up, through finding the space for themselves that is in harmony with a new awareness and sensibilty that allows the sacred masculine to arrive and thrive. The album’s trajectory reflects this transition to great effect.The opener ‘The One That Loves You’ sets the tone for deep reverence to the divine feminine presence. For Rowland, as for a rapidly increasing number of men, this energy and presence has clearly arrived in his life, to the point where this statement of intent bears all the hallmarks of man born again into a new worldview. It’s an outlook that some might argue is sorely needed and in doing so, he’s leading from the front, bearing his soul, feeling fully into the sense of vulnerability and surrender that many males of the species are still in denial about. The real strength is in his surrender, in the abandonment of ego, in the putting of someone else or something else first, in the healing process that is set in motion by the stripping bare of his soul, whether that is voluntary or facilitated by the Goddess. It takes guts to do this. Submissive doesn’t mean weak.If you want a trip into the trajectory Rowland’s transitioning, look no further than the ultimate confessional ‘It’s Alright Kevin (Manhood 2023)’ where he lays it humbly on the line in what on the surface celebrates a jaunty call-and-response with his chorus singers but on deeper listening, tells a tale or two.Kevin: “I tried so hard to be a man and I now I don’t care if I can. My life has been just been one long fight…”Chorus: “Let me tell you how with ease you can break from your dis-ease, abandon all your thoughts and start afresh, embrace some new ideas, and live a life of ease… “All delivered, as much of the album is, over a snappy, loping mid 70s soul Motown-style rhythm track overlaid with guitar, piano and swirling strings. ‘I’m Going To Get Free’ (check the exuberant video). Melodically, this track is as accessible as anything from peak Dexys early 80s era and ‘Coming Home’ is all about a homecoming, a rediscovery of self. It’s as catchy as anything Queen might have delivered at their peak.From the mid point of point of the album, on the surface things appear to get increasingly surreal. But what’s happening here is a fearless opening up, not least on the title track, a soliquoy (with chorus again) over the sort of timeless strings-laden cinematic backing track that might sit well on a mid 80s Pat Metheny album. ‘Now this is the only way… the way it has to be. Women have been put down too long, and it’s down to you and me’For Kevin, we're left in little doubt. Women are the goddesses. We got it the wrong way round. We should be serving them for all we’re worth. Perhaps the most startling (and puzzling for some) of all is this part of the album through to its culmination ‘My Goddess Is’ which is a devotional prayer to the feminine form over a chilled and squelchy funk backing track. That Rowland has the courage to lay open the nitty gritty of his new idealised relationship (whether fantasy or (as I suspect) the result of a very real experience) “These are the rules of our relationship. You serve me and I do what I want, when I want. Alright?” is voiced by Rowland’s album Goddess. ‘Rowland’s clipped and bloke-ish ‘ok’ response might be interpreted by any Domme worth her name as disrespectful, flippant at best and worthy of a clip around the ear, but he goes on to show his truth and wear his colours proudly.The tender and graceful ‘My Submission’ is stripped-down - just piano, voice and strings - submerging into a soft-focus somewhat idealised paean to ultimate surrender to the divine. As such it’s a spine-tingling transcendental peak of the album. It's also a mood that many of us men might do well to reflect upon. The closer ‘Dance With Me’ plays with themes around masochism and cuckolding, as Rowland helps dress and prepare his Goddess for her foray into the night without him. As a musical track, it’s almost out of the Barry White textbook musically, but ironically replacing White’s gruff Alpha-Male ultras with Rowland’s fragile, humble reverence. There is an overwinding sense that the struggle and fight has now been replaced by a devotional clarity of vision. Whether he’s acting this out, or going through every nuance of this radical transition, here is a man on his knees, in the best possible sense, a unique warrior for a new world making vital trailblazing new music.’
It feels so good that the album has been understood. It was a delight to read.
Also, the Dexys of now can not be compared with Dexys of the 80s. That would be like comparing Scorcese’s The Irishman with Taxi Driver - ridiculous!
When Dexys came back in 2012 with One Day I'm Going To Soar, it wasn't a continuation of anything. It was a new beginning. That's why we changed our name (dropping the Midnight Runners). It had been well over 20 years since the previous Dexys record (Don't Stand Me Down). So, One Day I'm Going To Soar was like a first album, not a fourth album. We’d had a lifetime to write it. It was a new beginning.