by Unwoman

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Written between 2008 and early 2010, originally released April 28, 2010, with the repackaged CD in July 2014.

Unwoman's fourth full-length album. Sixteen songs. Rich layers of cello, voice, synthetic and organic sounds. Includes pdfs of full lyric sheet and packaging.

An instrumental version is available here:


released April 28, 2010

Unwoman is Erica Mulkey. All songs written, performed, engineered, and produced by Unwoman except cello on Bruises engineered by Yosh Haraguchi at Faultline Studios, and lyrics on Thumbelina by Elizabeth Powers
Digitally mastered by Da5id Din at Corrosive Audio
Cover/digipack photos by Audrey Penven,
Lyric sheet photos by Neil Girling,

Doctor Popular ( recorded the music box samples, inspired the song “Haunted,” and offered exactly the support I needed most.
Huge thanks to Raymond Wolfe, Harley Gorrell, Joe Pate, Steven Miranda, Morgan Tucker (Crashfaster), Kat Mulkey, Dan Garcia, and all the other Kickstarter backers for their generous funding assistance. Laura Perlin, Kat Mulkey, and Thea Lawson provided me with essential feedback on the album and the song order.

Invaluable graphics suggestions and mock-up covers came from Mike Estee, Colin (catcubed), Aaron (sfslim), and Doctor Popular.




Unwoman San Francisco

Unwoman is a San Francisco-based cellist-singer-songwriter. Layered with skillful cello, rich vocals, and electronically arranged beats, her solo music is a futuristic homage to her classical training. Unwoman has been featured at steampunk, goth, and sci-fi-related events all over North America and has performed with Abney Park, Rasputina, Voltaire, Amanda Palmer, Stripmall Architecture... ... more

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Track Name: Is She Secretly On My Side?
Is she secretly on my side
Does she know all the reasons I've cried
And secretly still sing along
The soundtrack of her life my songs
(She always got the meanings wrong)

She's my sororal doppelganger
Following close like a phantom
Loving my discards just to confuse me:
Which of us holds the hand-me-downs?
(Which of us wears the wedding gowns?)

Now she wears my old life, the life I think she made
On my competitive side she preyed
Did she always picture herself in my place
Now the darling's won the race
(I wish that she could see my face)

Does she remember the day we tried on white dresses
The day she was my sister, before I was her confessor
Now does she revel in victory
Or is she plagued by the ghost of me?
(Haunted by what she can not see)
Track Name: Cruelty
Each girl thinks she will be the one
To love you despite all you do wrong
Each time you make the same mistakes
But so does she

You think that to be a good person
Means merely causing no one harm
But since we're all responsible for ourselves
It's impossible to fail

My heart is wide open and I'll never give up hoping
Not for your love, just for you to grow up

Now there's one more thing you need to know
Before the final curtains close
It is cruel to look into a girl's eyes that way you looked in mine
Unless you want her to fall in love with you
It is cruel to want her to fall in love
If you can't love her too
(I know you can't love me too)

Each girl I've told has been unsurprised
They learned as I to avoid your eyes
Now only knowing I can never win
Would I fall in them again

It is cruel to look into a girl's eyes that way you looked in mine
Unless you want her to fall in love with you.
It is cruel to want her to fall in love
If you can't love her too
(I know you can't love any of us too)
Track Name: Haunted
This must be the worst part of missing you
I cry at a picture of me kissing you
And I've forgotten just how you smell
I only remember I loved it so well
Oooh it's heavy
Deep in my belly
I picture your touch
And know that you miss me this much

I don't want to tell you that I am in love
Because I'm still haunted
But you're all I have to chase away my ghosts
So you need to know, you're so wanted
Oooh (etc)

I can't play a note without those bitter times
Entering unwelcome into my mind
Time hasn't fixed it but there's hope yet
When we make love I always forget
Schadenfreude or sympathy?
Coincidence or destiny?

When we're together, you distract me
Kisses and laughter attack completely
But your image and voice are poor substitutes
When all six senses of mine need you
Track Name: Habit
I've got that teenage feeling
A whole lot of good it does me
Part of the allure was I didn't know
What I was getting into

But I can't break the habit of you
Though I say I want to
Oh I need one more rendezvous -- then I'll quit
This nasty habit of you

You still haunt my mind with everything you said
All the things you liked about me went to my head
As we walked down the street eating ice cream
With every bite it got harder to stop
Oh, now I can't stop, I can't stop I can't stop

And now I can't break the habit of you
I need one more rendezvous
Then I'll quit this habit of you
I still need something to sink my teeth into
I can't break the habit of you
Oh I might say how much I want to
Track Name: Pillar of Salt
The damage was done preemptively
Blame the force of these memories
Abstain all you want you can't shake your hold on me

Though you won't call me -- you play it right
Still my mind lingers in those nights
And you don't have to try to twist that knife

But if I look back I'll turn into a pillar of
If I look back I'll turn into a pillar of
If I look back I'll turn into a pillar of

Not since the days of boys' tyranny
Over my heart was I so weak
Yet you see I would love to beg at your feet
Track Name: Loud and Clear
I only wanted to make something better than myself
I never resisted being criticized
No I listened to everything anyone has said
But some things are not meant to be analyzed

It's all over now
I've grown so tired of listening to all the doubt
The fear so consuming that I'll never get out
I still have the choice
To ignore that voice inside my head that says
Whatever I do, it's not a success --
I've had enough of this

With every glance new cracks, new flaws are exposed
We all carry a thousand mistakes
But you know someday this Pandora's box will be closed
Until then, I'll do whatever it takes

I look to the past, to the future to come
Relying on daydreams that I might have won
One day...

I'm too soft, I'm too hard
I'm too brave, I'm too scared
I'm trivial, I'm serious
Is anyone even hearing this?

I hear the absence of your cheers
Loud and clear, loud and clear...
Track Name: In Bluebeard's Castle
You don't ask what happened
His history is a private matter
You wouldn't like what you find
Just pray to never ask for
The violence he keeps confined

Oh all the women before you
He didn't deserve us, we were cruel
You dear you are different, you are so innocent
He watches you like a hawk
And your body given to him, he owns it

In daily life he is solicitous
Wants to know your desires so he can fill them
You tell him omitting only one thing:
Your curiosity

But with your subtle charms you have seduced the guard
Now he walks beside you with a ring of keys
You do not see the sadistic gleam in his eyes
As he opens the forbidden chamber
He will enjoy murder vicariously
Your false step unleashes the fury
Belied by your prince's calm demeanor
What is behind that door?

In Bluebeard's castle
What is behind that door?
Track Name: Bruises
I learned to love from songs
I know I do it wrong
I fall fast and not very well
Try to dissemble, but you can tell
I can't play by the rules
Too impatient to be pursued

But you got under my skin
Your skin under my nails
Your smell on my hair
Your marks on my arms

If we can choose our bruises I've made my choice
Now I sing my own song in my own voice
Though my tongue may still be tied
In the end I will be undenied
Oh, I learned to love from songs
I know I do it wrong

If I could have what I wanted
You would be part of it
To grasp me firmly's not an option
But I want you
Even now I've had you, still -- I want you
Tempted to give all this a name
As our dance moves always one step out of frame
Track Name: Satin
I take the dress down from the attic
I slip her on and tie her lace
Tonight she might be stained and battered
In your dangerous embrace

I am satin, fretted and frayed
By life's jagged edges
When I let myself out to play
Despite consequences

Intensity is muted by pretending
It’s not in reverence for your spark
Just for the severance of strings
That bound me, kept me from my heart

Yet everything I make and do
In this labyrinth of doubt
Is a misguided lovesong to you
Wouldn't mean anything without
(oh let it out let it out!)

I take the dress down from the attic
I slip her on and lace her ties
Tonight she might be torn and tattered
Just because we are alive
Track Name: Trouble
I wasn't looking for -- Trouble found me
It rests with eyes and words for now, my treachery
Does the young planet know the force with which she pulls
Who can blame two bodies for obeying gravity?

Yes there are things that can't be undone
But neither can they be unsaid; you can't be unwanted
Knowing well that this could be the crisis
Despite admonishments I remain undaunted

Now I'm poised to fall the final distance into your arms
The path of least resistance and the most harm
I always get what I ask for
But never know what I want

So when I asked for it, Trouble found me
It lives in flesh and bone, our treachery
I won't ask the lioness to change her nature
However merciless, however bloody

This is not the first secret it won't be the last
I see all the future tears as if they've already passed
As if it's already known
For now we keep it close

I ask again, my friend -- Trouble find me
Remind me how it feels, my treachery
Track Name: His, Yours, or Mine?
I think a lot about all the things that I have broken
I look around at what remains, hoping
If I turn away will I be submerged in regretting
Or will I succeed in forgetting

For too long I've wanted a forbidden kiss to force me to decision
Chaos of lust is unstoppable and I am made of pure destruction
All epiphanies are false and my sweet words might never mean a thing
But I vacillate between two choices and a third could break the swing

I will win either way I choose
But either way I also lose
I am adrift, I can't decide
Whose desire to satisfy: his, yours or mine

Those who don't fear me want me
In this city full of men
Can I say no to them for you?
Can I say no to you for them?
Track Name: Casualties
"That's one of the unfortunate by-products of a married woman falling in love. There are almost always casualties, Eve."

In retrospect it seems I've lost
I could have won, but at what cost?
Is it too late now to be brave?
When there's no love left I can save
Feeling guilt's my one regret
I let you take all you could get

I'm coming back to take what's mine
I'm not afraid to cross the line
Track Name: Fugue Fugue
With an empty heart
And all my hope wrapped tight around me
Fled into lonely night
I'm still here you never found me
Running past fantasies (in anonymity)
Of your Utopian daylight
Pretend I'm someone else (one of many)
Memories don't seem to fit right

Those bells I thought would never toll for me
When they did, hollow the sound, hollow the meaning

But recall all the time (now far behind me)
Spent in a warm embrace
And why I exited (please don't remind me)
Knowing it couldn't be replaced
Love, once I thought you were (it's so easy to fall)
The cure for everything that ailed me
After I tried so hard (or did I try at all)
Was it that you simply failed me?

Those bells I thought would never toll for me
When they did, hollow the sound, hollow the meaning

Love, when I care to look
I see you as smoke and mirrors
Naked, I face myself
When your illusion disappears
Track Name: Thumbelina
Don't crush her fairy's wings
Hold her gently in your hand
Help her to feel tall again
None of this was planned

She's too small for the pen
Can't write her story down
Too small for the pen
Can't bring her mind around

She's wilting in the corner
No one to help her stand
Help her to feel tall again
None of this was planned

Her silver shell is cracking
Naïve beyond belief
She's not as lithesome as she'd like
Keeps glimpses of herself brief

(Thumbelina, Thumbelina-ah)

No junebugs can reach her here
To sweep her into an unknown land
And spirit her away to a lonely bloom
No, none of this was planned

She can question why she was born this small
But of course there is no one to answer her call
Track Name: The Keys
With a promise to set me free
From the cage I'd locked myself into
He appeared with many keys
How could I refuse?

These golden bars they hold perfection
But were chosen by mistake (mistake)
Comfort would be my tomb
I had to run away (he led me away)

Waking in the morning, my head upon his chest
The paradox abundantly clear
This love attacked so fierce: it will decay like all the rest
There is nothing to be gained here
As lust turns to need all the promise is destroyed
Need turns to possession
Each little victory only noise

So I have returned to my cage
But now I hold the keys
And I will use them
Anytime I please
Track Name: Survival
For too long I paid lipservice to liberation
Let my young self be subsumed in our relations
Don't think for a moment I don't take responsibility
But you have to agree it was time I set myself free

Is it wrong to distill what we had for so many years
Down to the worst of us both, all of our violence and tears
Tell me what hurts and hate me for wanting it anyway
Love has driven me from you and fear won't make me stay
I have stared down the face of death
Burned my idols till nothing was left
If you tried to see through my eyes
You would know this is how I'll survive, the only way I can survive

You think I sacrificed happiness for pleasures trivial
I repeat my mantra no regrets so someday it will feel real
I am alone, there is no freedom from
I begged borrowed and stole, escaped your rubber room

Blame me for what you can
You are a shell of a man
Tell all my friends I've gone mad
Everything I could've wanted, I had
But survival isn't just for the body
It's for what will be left of me
All the ways you say I'm crazy
They form my legacy

You think I sacrificed happiness for pleasures trivial
I repeat my mantra no regrets so someday it will feel real
I am alone with my freedom to
I lied cheated and stole to get away from you
I am alone, wide skies above me
This city's all mine, and no one to love me
I am alone unprotected from my worst self
No freedom from but I have no regrets
I am alone, wide skies above,
This city's all mine, and no one to love

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