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It’s been said that actors wish they could be rock stars and rock stars wish they were actors.  But what if you’re a writer and you also have a music career?  Well, if you’re Jeff Giles, Jason Hare, Darren Robbins, Dw. Dunphy, Terje Fjelde and Ben Wiser, it means you work for Popdose.  Yes folks, this week, yours truly is mixing six songs featuring members of the Popdose staff.  The rules for this mix were simple:  I asked these all-stars to send me their favorite song and tell me why they liked it.  Some answered the question, and others … well, you’ll see.  On with the show!

“(You’re My) Favorite Waste of Time,” Jeff Giles (download)

(Photo by Brittany DeWester)

Trying to get Jeff to pick his favorite song was like pulling teeth. Why?  Well, read on … read on.

Ted: So what song do you want to feature?

Jeff:  I’ve been thinking about it, but my problem is that I sort of hate all my songs.

Ted: Do you want me to pick one and force you to like it?

Jeff: Well, that depends on which one you pick!

Ted:  I have a couple in mind, but let’s see if you can shit or get off the pot on your own.

Jeff:  Fine.  I’ll take a shit, then. Right now, I’d say it’s a tossup between “Bittersweet” and my cover of Marshall Crenshaw’s “(You’re My) Favorite Waste of Time.”

Ted:  Um, that’s two shits.  I only need one.

Jeff: Oh, fuck it, let’s just go with the Crenshaw cover.

Ted:  Okay, so tell me why you covered a Crenshaw song.

Jeff:  Back in the day when I writing and recording music, we spent a week or two demoing songs for a prospective covers album, and this song ended up making it all the way to the finish line.  Marshall never really released this one, so we felt good about covering it.

“Hello,” The Acoustic ’80s (Feat. Jason Hare and Michael Burke) (download)

I emailed Jason asking him to submit a song for the mix, and at first he declined saying that he didn’t have any original songs.  I told him cover songs were fine, and reminded when he was active posting on his blog, he featured a song he played on keyboard that had a Christmas theme.  His response?

“Damn you, Ted.  Okay, let me take a look…dammit. Did you remember that Xmas thing on your own or did Giles throw me under the bus?”

A day later, I got this mp3 and a cordial email from Jason that read: “Damn you!!  DAMN YOU!!!!”

Well, I may be damned, but damn if I don’t love this version for taking a ballad and making it into an uptempo number.  Plus, there’s a smoking hot acoustic lead guitar break performed by Michael that makes me jealous because I can barely do three chord changes in a row.

“Island,” Darren Robbins (download)

There’s an interesting story behind this song, and I’ll let Darren tell it:

“This was the track that brought me out of retirement, so to speak.  Someone from Clive Davis’ office heard it on my website, invited me in for a face-to-face with the legendary exec (where he asked me to write a song on the spot based around a song title he gave me — and I can still feel the drip of sweat that fell cold against my ribcage as I reached for the guitar.  One of his artists (who shall remain nameless because I actually care about my career these days) recorded “Island”, but, upon hearing the final result, I balked at signing off on it, choosing to keep the track for myself.  Of course, now that I’ve released my recording, anybody can cover it and there’s not a thing I can do to stop them.

Regardless, I like the song because it tells a story I have lived a thousand times in my life; one of love, longing and, ultimately, a shared moment.”

“The Icy Frozen Ocean,” Dw. Dunphy (download)

And here we go with Dw’s favorite! So, take it away, Dw …

“As with most everyone who involves themselves in this stuff, you’re the most partial to whatever you’re cooking up at the time. I’m no different. Initially, I was going to offer up what will be the closer for my upcoming project (called Enigmatic) but that song, ‘The Clouds Plateau,’ is about 10 minutes long. So instead, I’ve enclosed ‘The Icy Frozen Ocean,’ a tribute to one of my all-time favorite groups.  And one listen ought to clue you in to what group that would be.”

“Not Through With You,” Terje Fjelde (download)

Ted: So did you write this song?

Terje: “Not Through With You” was written by Andy Furlong. It’s a moodier tune and the lyrics are rather morbid. However, I like the arrangement and the sound, but I’m not sure the melody is interesting enough to hold on to the listener’s patience.

Ted: I gotta say Terje, out of the three songs you sent me this one grabbed me the most. Yeah, it’s a morbid song, but I like your singing on this, the music, and, well, just the whole feel.

Terje:  Thanks, I appreciate it! As you can probably tell, I’m perennially insecure regarding my music.

“The Dreaming Sea, (Fragment)” Ben Wiser (download)

Ben is a busy guy these days — owing to the fact that his wife just had a baby.  However, he did make time for this brief back-and-forth:

Ted:  So tell me about this song.

Ben: I recorded this in 2006 as a 30-minute experimental piece that was divided up into four “movements.”  However, recently edited this bite-sized chunk to give you a flavor of one of the movements.

Ted:  Jeff was saying that this reminds him of Tim Story’s work, but I hear Brian Eno during his ambient music phase — only quite a bit heavier.