A Song Is Just a Song

by Unwoman

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I have been in a pretty low place about nearly everything for the last couple months. My career is no exception. Why am I even doing this? Looking at my last two scheduled gigs, one was canceled the week of, and the other had about a dozen people in attendance. I’ve decided not to pursue travel gigs in the foreseeable future.

But, on my friend Steven Archer’s (Ego Likeness) advice, I picked up a copy of Art & Fear. I went out of town for the night of my just-cancelled gig — my first night apart from both child and partner since I gave birth — read most of the book, then settled in to composing. The topic most present in my mind was: am I actually making the world a more beautiful place, and is that a laudable goal in this moment? Two weeks later I finished the lyrics at a hotel bar after my (underattended) Simi Valley gig. Here’s my current orchestration. It works with live-looping, too, so the next time I want to depress everyone at a show, it’s fucking ON.

References: Miss Rumphius (Barbara Cooney) and Good Bones (Maggie Smith)

Other title ideas I had (temp title was Art And Trash)

This Is Not the Digging Song
Our Delicate Hands
On Behalf of the Revolution
The Golden Age of Circuses


This world is filthy and full of shit
Yet I've been told to stay clean
This world is dangerous and wants me dead
Though I was promised safety

When I was young I was taught my job was
To make this world a beautiful place
But what can one person do besides
Planting flowers on top of heaps of toxic waste?

A song is just a song, it won’t help to turn the soil
Unless it’s sung while digging

And these bards and I are still
Singing on behalf of The Revolution
Because it’s something we can sell you on
Without sullying our delicate hands

[Resistance will always be sexy, that part is easy
And it’s our bread and butter
In this, the golden age of circuses]

Yes this world is dangerous and wants to kill you
But you should survive anyway, live to fight another day
Because it’s your job to make this a beautiful place
To spread the lie that we can be safe

A song is just a song, and it doesn’t bring upheaval
Unless it’s the gravedigger’s hymn
A story about utopia is still just a story
Unless we write it in blood


released November 27, 2018


all rights reserved



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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