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On Your Feet, Soldier

by Unwoman

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Behold, the first original song I’ve actually finished writing since my album!

It’s about a bunch of things, but in short:
-a cycle of mindless consumption + purposeless work
-responses to traumatic despair
-continuing despite lack of confidence in one’s path or in institutional or societal support
-Serving tech companies by creating lots of social media content rather than connecting to each other individually
-mortality & futility
-The Terminator film franchise (lol)

I want to explain how I write songs and what I’ve changed in the last ~ year. Fun fact about my brain: I am CONSTANTLY coming up with little word + melody phrases. I record an average of 3-4 a day into my little phone recording app. Most of these don’t go anywhere, but if I strike one that’s really catchy, lately I’ve been trying to set it down in a Reason file (I use Reason for everything; it’s been my only music software for about 10 years.) I have a bunch at different time signatures/BPM, and most now contain several song zygotes from the past few months.

So, ideas come very easily to me, but connecting them in an entire song, or feeling the drive or point to actually finish a song is very difficult. But last week I made it come together over 2.5 rather excruciating days (there is a certain drive to finish songs that’s probably necessary to me actually finishing things, though it hurts while I’m in it, hating the work — but it’s totally worth the joy I’ve had in the subsequent 5 days as I lay down actual sounds to make it honestly better than anything I was even expecting).

It’s a little more heavily orchestrated, and less repetitive and minimal than many of my arrangements. I don’t know if anyone else will notice this, but I’m making more production choices that please me, even if they don’t make conventional sense, and it’s making musicmaking way more fun for me!

The prechorus & chorus were both started as separate song-seeds, but then I wrote verses to go with the chorus (not the ones you hear — one got used as the bridge and one got tossed out) but they didn’t transition well, and the “Do I have to entertain you” line I’d come up with totally separately actually ended up building pretty well to the chorus. As for verses, I kept coming up with ideas that sucked slightly less than the previous. “You have to move forward/on your feet, soldier!” came to me in the gym last Tuesday, after a particularly gloomy and unmotivated workout — not about fitness goals or anything like that, but about songwriting and parenting. (Did you know that Sarah Connor is my momspiration? Only mostly kidding ahahahaha). Like, even if I’ve messed up a LOT as Pickles’ mom, I still have to keep going and do my best tomorrow. BTW he is starting school in a couple weeks in an adaptive classroom with just a few other students for just a couple hours a day and I’m really, really optimistic that this will get him off on a good foot for education. Meanwhile I have all these ridiculous efficiency tricks so I can keep cranking out tunes and I often feel pretty strongly how fortunate I am that my living is mostly such satisfying work even when I occasionally nearly die of ennui.


You have to move forward
On your feet, soldier!
You have to believe that the future is in your hands

Are you walking homeward?
Do they let you have one?
Or anything beyond a purpose to meet their demands?

And do I have to entertain you
To get through to you how you’ve been used?
When it might cost us everything just
To seek some deeper understanding

If you fall in a trench
Do you squirm, do you wrench
Or do you hold your breath and just wait there
If you lose the horizon
Do you keep your eyes on
The land promised to those who play fair
In my dreams I survive
In our dreams we survive
But a fantasy’s not a solution
And each hour that goes by
Brings us closer to dying
Without making one contribution

Yes everyone’s different
Deep in the shit
I have to believe I might not recognize myself

No matter what you serve
On your feet, soldier!
You can’t stop and rest on your way to all-consuming hell

You can feel it collapsing
Under your feet — you never!
Believed any of their lies
But you got so comfortable
(We are all so comfortable)

And do I have to entertain you
To get through to you how you’ve been used?
Like I would rather make something but
I have to feed the hand that shaped me


Get back on your feet soldier
Now we all march home


released January 24, 2022




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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