Ellen Feiss Music Video – An Ode to the Mac Switcher

May 31st, 2008 by Benj Edwards

Ellen Feiss - Mac Switcher

I don’t know if anybody out there knows this, but some years ago, I created a music site called Request-A-Song.com (RAS). My brother Jeremy and I wrote original songs based on visitor suggestions, recorded them, and put them up on the site in MP3 format. We usually treated serious requests humorously, and humorous requests seriously, which thoroughly confused everybody (Hence RAS’s amazing success, and why you’ve no doubt heard of it many times). Sadly, our heyday was before the Digg, YouTube, MySpace, and ubiquitous blog explosion, which would have undoubtedly helped us promote our music and unique concept.

I’m only mentioning this now because it deals with something at least slightly on-topic for VC&G — computer history. Mike (aka Dr. Macenstein), over at the Macenstein blog, recently put together a video for my tongue-in-cheek song, “Ellen Feiss Makes Me Hot,” which I released back in 2003 (yes, almost five years ago). It’s about the famous Mac switcher who appeared in an Apple advertisement around the time. Essentially, people thought the commercial was funny because Ms. Feiss looked like she was stoned while filming.

(By the way, I should probably note that I had no idea Ellen Feiss was 15 when I recorded the song. It’s also written from the point of view of a fictional admirer, and acknowledges how Internet obsession can be creepy in the lyrics. I was looking to hitch the song onto a popular meme about Feiss on the Internet at the time.)

The song itself was never one of my favorites — I recall being disappointed at how it turned out, even through I put much effort into it at the time. So it surprised me when some of our fans listed it among their favorite RAS songs some time later. Go figure.

Read the Macenstein article here.

Macenstein even convinced Ellen Feiss herself to listen to the song and comment on it, which surprised me — I always wondered if she’d hear it some day. Here’s what she said:

“I think the song is surprisingly well executed,” says Ellen, “and I think it’s one of the most fun expressions of Feiss-love I’ve heard about. I am tentatively flattered, but I think considering the relatively involved orchestral arrangement, why use such obvious lyrics? We get it, my eyes were bloodshot. The best lyric is about how I’m probably freaked out.”

Great critique. I threw that line about being freaked out in particular because I knew the fan obsession with her was ridiculous. The song was social commentary on the Feiss phenomenon.

So feel free to Digg the Macenstein page or even rate the video highly on YouTube, if you like it. I figured I’d give Mike the benefit of some cross-promotion. I personally thought the video was well done, considering the short commercial he had to work with (Not to mention the song he had to work with). You can read my comments about the song on the Macenstein page, and you can download the song itself here.

Life Goes On

Request-A-Song.com LogoAs far as RAS is concerned, it’s on indefinite hiatus. We had some fun, got some press, and I learned a lot about music, promotion, web design, and running a semi-popular website. We released 134 songs total, all of which can be downloaded for free on the site. We also released two CDs, which can be found on CDBaby, Amazon.com, and the iTunes music store. Just search for “Request-A-Song.com.”

I haven’t released a song on RAS since December 2005. A few months before that, I started the blog you’re reading now, which captured all my attention and immediately received ten times more traffic its first week than RAS did in a year. Then I wondered why I spent years toiling (and I mean toiling — I recorded over 100 songs) away at music, which took one hundred times the effort to produce than an entry like this one, and yet received 1/100th the feedback. So you can see why I made my transition to VC&G-land. Music is not completely dead to me, however; I’ll probably get back into it some day. Until then, enjoy the video.

4 Responses to “Ellen Feiss Music Video – An Ode to the Mac Switcher”

  1. Andrew Armstrong Says:

    Wow, a side to Benj I hadn’t even conceived 😀

    Neat song, I’m well impressed. When I have some time I’ll see what other goodies you have on the site.

  2. Zoyous Says:

    Request-a-Song.com sounds like a variation on the idea of Song-Poems. Check out the documentary “Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story” at http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/offthecharts/film.html …it’s really interesting. To me, RAS sounds more honorable because it’s free. The Song-Poem industry is kind of driven by a desire for easy money at the expense of people’s naive dreams of fame and fortune in the music industry. Well, come to think of it, the same could be said of the music industry in general. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of fascinating songs that have been made in this weird little musical cul-de-sac.

  3. Benj Edwards Says:

    I’ve seen RAS compared to Song Poems a few times before, especially after that documentary came out. I don’t think I had heard of the song poem concept prior to that, but I probably would have been interested. I never did get around to listening to any song poems though.

  4. JimUlrich Says:

    And that’s how Ellen Feiss became Mrs. Benj Edwards. And now you know…the rest of the story.

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