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Kevin Godley - Muscle Memory

Kevin Godley, founding member of 10cc, and half of recording duo and directing team Godley and Creme, has released his first ever solo album, entitled Muscle Memory.  Something to know about this album is that all of the music was crowdsourced.  Kevin put an open call out to anyone who wanted to submit an instrumental track that he would potentially write lyrics for.  He received 286 submissions, and chose 11 of them for his album. He released the first track from the album on July 16th, 2020, and released one track every 2 weeks, with the eleventh and final track being released on December 3rd, 2020.  The full album was released as a complete package on December 17th, 2020.  It is available on CD and Vinyl, and will also be released digitally.


To hear Kevin explain the concepts and details of this record, along with other elements of his entire career, listen to the in-depth interview HERE.


Expecting A Message—The lyrics to the lead off track from this album are definitely open for interpretation.  If you asked 5 people to tell you what the song is about, I think you would get 5 different answers.   At the beginning Kevin sings that he’s “Expecting A Message” that he “really wants to hear.”   However, he experiences something that affects him in a way that makes him proclaim as the song ends that he doesn’t want to hear the message after all.  This track is very electronic sounding with the bending of pitches and vocals throughout.  As expected, the rhythm and unique beats that are on display in this and many of the songs on this album are very addictive. Keeping in mind that Kevin didn’t compose the music beds for these songs, it seems likely that his experience behind a drum kit for many years played into his choices when deciding from among almost 300 instrumental tracks. 

The Ghosts Of The Living-This song takes the listener on a journey through past relationships, especially those that would be better forgotten.  In these relationships, people come to mind that might be unforgiving and know of all flaws and shortcomings.  These “ghosts” are people that aren’t looking to wanting to compliment happiness and success, but appear to be waiting to witness and exploit failure.  This song features my favorite vocals from Kevin, as they sound so smooth and effortless.  It also highlights the wide range that his voice is capable of.  The composer of the music bed for this track even throws in a moment or two of the background vocal overlays that made the 10cc song “I’m Not In Love” so amazing.

Hit The Street-This is a track that sounds as though it would either be a very personal reference to a specific experience in Kevin’s life, or it could be a completely fictional story.  The rhythm to this song is mostly created by guitar and piano—there are no drums on this track.  I absolutely love the jazz trumpet that starts the song and reappears throughout!  This is another track that really highlights Kevin’s amazing voice!  On this track, his vocals are so haunting and mesmerizing---especially when he doubles his voice with a harmony!  This is a song where an instrumental framework employs a “less is more” mentality that makes for a great listening experience!

The Bang Bang Theory-Make no mistake as to what this song is about.  On display in the lyrics that pierce through the industrial sounding rhythms is an obvious discussion about the gun laws (and other issues) in the United States.   Keep in mind here that, although I’m sure he has spent many years in the U.S. over the course of his unbelievable career, Kevin is taking in and processing the political firestorms of America from his home in another country.  All of the melody work comes from Kevin’s vocals, as he is singing over a blend of percussive sounds and rhythms…no melody instruments here.  Very creative here is the question/answer or point/counterpoint structure of many of the lyrics.

5 Minutes Alone-From the very beginning of the song, where the music bed creeps into the consciousness of the listener, this song is full of mystery.  It’s very difficult to speculate as to exactly what this song is about, but it seems obvious that the subject of the song is haunted by a past interaction or experience.  Not only do the lyrics reinforce this theory, but also the piano ostinato and unique sounds in the background.   At one point in the song, the initially dark sounding music temporarily changes to illustrate a fond memory and the nonchalant way it is done is absolutely mesmerizing.  The question left in the air as the music comes to an end is whether 5 Minutes Alone would change any outcomes.

Cut To The Cat-There are many topics being tossed on the table for discussion in this song.  The one thing that all of these topics have in common is that to many people they are very controversial.    In the process of each issue being released to the air for public consumption, many questions are asked, and possible solutions are offered.  Some of these solutions are sarcastic, while others are humorous.  All of these intense topics are sung with a catchy melody over a dance like rhythm and synthesizers.

One Day-A very thought provoking song that speculates on the future of music. The concepts that are presented are quite believable as new technology continues to impact the way music is composed and recorded.  Each line begins and connects thoughts with the words of the title “One day…..” and offers many possible scenarios as to how music may be created and listened to years from now.  Examples of what we may see in music of the future are spelled out in lyrics such as “And the sound of fresh audio pleasure one day driven by algorithms tuned to your subconscious needs.” and “One day musicians as we know them will cease to exist because one day there will be no need for them.”  The ideas mentioned are possible future characteristics of music that may not be very desirable for creators and melody lovers, but are quite possible based on how much music has already changed over the years.

All Bones Are White-Upon listening closely to this song, it seems as though it was written about a specific incident related to racial inequalities possibly during the days of slavery.  Whether or not that is the case, it is very disturbing but necessary to hear the detailed lyrics as they are at the very least based on some of the most atrocious acts of violence in the history of humanity.  As with many of the songs on this album, Kevin takes the listeners down many paths of possibility and wonder.  The song also suggests that the truth about these horrific actions is being covered up or swept under the carpet.  The music that serves as a foundation for these lyrics is very haunting and leaves them raw and exposed for the listener to reflect upon.

Periscope-The subject matter of this song is a reflection on the gradual erosion of society.  This finely crafted composition contains some of the most amazing melodies and vocal work on the album.   The way in which Kevin layers his vocals and builds in extra reverb is throughout this song is reminiscent of some of the early Bowie works.  The chording of this song is absolutely beautiful!  Very analytical lyrics are once again present here, describing our current landscape, where people are suspicious of those around them, waiting for an inevitable misstep to take place.    Within the structure of this song is a cry for help amidst the reclusive and withdrawing qualities of our current society.

Song Of Hate-Although the introductory lyric might lead listeners to believe otherwise ("If I had a doll of you, I’d sprinkle it with roses and morning dew"), this is not a love song.  It only takes one more lyric before this is made clear ("But if I’m being honest and true, I’d rather put you in the freezer and watch you turn blue").  The subject of this song could be a former friend, ex-lover, or other adversary.  Regardless of who the intended party of this message is, there is much that is said.  The melody and rhythm of this track is somewhat dancelike, but the message being delivered to its intended recipient is far from rosy.

Bulletholes In The Sky-From the title, one might not expect this final track on the album to be a gorgeous piano song.  The gentle melody and instrumentation of this song are pleasing to the ear, while the lyrics create a poignant and reflective ending to the album.  Lyrics like “I tried to say a prayer but the words came out broken” and “I had one eye on a bird in flight and the other on the news” demonstrate the unrest that can exist within each one of us during our current times.  One specific lyric in this song that jumps off the page and creates some of the best imagery to ever be created is “And anyone can see with the naked eye that stars are Bulletholes In The Sky.”

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