The Keys

by Unwoman

(free) 03:41
(free) 04:01


Released October 22, 2009. Previews & outtakes for upcoming CD release, Casualties, due out in Spring 2010 (see ) and some covers.


released October 22, 2009

Everything by Unwoman (Erica Mulkey) except as noted on tracks. Photo by Neil Girling,


Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.



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

contact / help

Contact Unwoman

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code

Report this album or account

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

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: 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: 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 never deserved them they were cruel
Oh 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
Oh what is behind that door?

In bluebeard's castle
What is behind that door?
Track Name: Satin
I am satin, fretted and frayed
By life's jagged edges
When I let myself out to play
Despite consequences

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

(chorus 2x)

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

Yet all the things I make and do
In this labyrinth of doubt
Are misguided lovesongs 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
In our dance she’ll be torn and tattered
Just because we are alive
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 is moving always one step out of frame

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 treacher
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 I will never get out
I still have the choice
To ignore that voice inside my head that says
Whatever I do, it's not 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 and 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: 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 just grow up
Now there's one more thing you need to know

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 those 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: 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 see your face I see you as smoke and mirrors
Naked, I face myself when your illusion disappears
Track Name: In Love With Us
He rushed us straight on, sweep feet out under
Me, melt for blush, now felt naked say “ah”

So simply be loved and
Only error still frees us
Happy error here frees up
Speak still sweet the more he saw
Sell the leave more where he’s too fond you see

He'd have helped the veiled ones
Tell someday why
Harsh, the end of near-strength
Sundial, snatch more we are
Here as we sat on that shelf easily
In love with us he ropes sad animals

So wracked, know when is ended
Hopes I don't know exit warrior:
Her song lapses, deserts, see the path?
So all is neat, sin's ceremonial, for hope it's only a hand

(in love with us)

There's no more need in real
Assumption on that stops
Says certainly lose it; a young girl would
There's no need left, yes no need being left in our loop
And now these methods need forensics

He’s the very gear but
Hopes it all pushed me -- let go!
So be soothed you so often, one in/out my eyes
He rushed this enamored enough, so still it’s early
In love with us
Hope the curtains are up

Unwoman recommends:

If you like Unwoman, you may also like: