How to Save a Life

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This article is about the album. For the song, see How to Save a Life (song).
How to Save a Life
Studio album by The Fray
Released September 13, 2005 (2005-09-13)
Recorded Echo Park Studios: 2004 - 2005
Genre Alternative rock, pop rock
Length 45:56
Label Epic
Producer Aaron Johnson, Mike Flynn
The Fray chronology
Reason EP
(2003)
How to Save a Life
(2005)
Live at the Electric Factory: Bootleg No. 1
(2006)
Singles from How to Save a Life
  1. "How to Save a Life"
    Released: August 28, 2004
  2. "Over My Head (Cable Car)"
    Released: October 7, 2005
  3. "Look After You"
    Released: February 6, 2007
  4. "All at Once"
    Released: June 2007

How to Save a Life is the debut album by American alternative rock group The Fray. Released on September 13, 2005 through Epic Records, the record charted in the top 15 on the Billboard 200 and was a top ten hit in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. The first two singles from the album, "Over My Head (Cable Car)" and "How to Save a Life" helped the album become a commercial success and brought the band mainstream popularity.[1]

Critical reception to the album was mixed. The piano-rock style of the album drew comparisons with British piano-driven bands like Keane and Coldplay. The album was certified double platinum by the RIAA, and was also certified platinum in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and in the UK. The album went on to become the best-selling digital album of all time, breaking the record held previously by Coldplay's X&Y.[2][3] It was ranked #21 on Billboard's list of the Best Digital Albums of the Decade.[4]

Background[edit]

After independently releasing two EPs, The Fray were looking for a record company to release a full-length album. The band released their song "Cable Car" to Denver radio station KTCL, and the song saw significant airplay.[5] Denver alternative newsweekly Westword named the band "Best New Band" in 2004, and this prompted Epic Records A&R man Daniel Davis to sign the band to a recording contract on December 17, 2004.[6] The album was recorded over six weeks in Echo Park Studios in Bloomington, Indiana, and was produced by Aaron Johnson and Mike Flynn.[7]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Isaac Slade and Joe King, except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "She Is"   3:56
2. "Over My Head (Cable Car)"   3:58
3. "How to Save a Life"   4:23
4. "All at Once" (Isaac Slade, Joe King and Aaron Johnson) 3:48
5. "Fall Away"   4:23
6. "Heaven Forbid"   3:59
7. "Look After You"   4:28
8. "Hundred" (Isaac Slade and Monica Conway) 4:13
9. "Vienna" (Isaac Slade, Joe King and Daniel Battenhouse) 3:51
10. "Dead Wrong" (Isaac Slade, Joe King and Michael Flynn) 3:05
11. "Little House"   2:30
12. "Trust Me"   3:22
Total length:
45:56

In later editions, an extra track was added:

  1. "Unsaid" – 3:05
Bonus CD
  1. "Over My Head (Cable Car)" (Live at the Gothic (05.20.2005))
  2. "How to Save a Life" (Live for MTV.com & VH1.com (07.14.2005))
  3. "Look After You" (Live at Red Rocks (08.12.2005))
  4. "Heaven Forbid" (Live at Red Rocks (08.12.2005))
Bonus DVD
  1. How to Save a Life (The Story)
  2. On The Road 2006 (Documentary)
  3. "Over My Head (Cable Car)" (Music Video)
  4. "Over My Head (Cable Car)" (Making the video)

Personnel[edit]

  • Isaac Slade - lead vocals, piano
  • Joe King - guitars, bass, backing vocals
  • Dave Welsh - guitars
  • Ben Wysocki - drums, percussion
  • David Campbell - string arrangements

Release[edit]

The album was released on September 13, 2005 by Epic Records. While the album did not make a splash commercially or critically initially, the success of "Over My Head (Cable Car)" propelled the album from the Top Heatseekers chart to the top 20 of The Billboard 200 chart. The release of the second single, "How to Save a Life", a world-wide smash, helped the album enter the top 5 in several charts across the world, and brought The Fray mainstream popularity.[8] The song remains the band's best known and most successful song to date.

Singles[edit]

  • "How to Save a Life" was released as the second single from the album. The song reached the top three of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, surpassing the peak position of "Over My Head (Cable Car)". It became the joint sixth longest charting single of all time on the Billboard Hot 100, tying with Santana's "Smooth", at 58 consecutive weeks. The song also topped the Adult Top 40 chart for 15 consecutive weeks. "How to Save a Life" became a major hit internationally, topping the singles chart in Ireland, Spain and Canada.[13] The song also charted in the top five in Australia, Italy, Sweden and in the UK Singles Chart.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[15]
Blender 3/5 stars[16]
Entertainment.ie 1/5 stars[17]
Entertainment Weekly C+[18]
Jesus Freak Hideout 4.5/5 stars[19]
HM Magazine 4/5 stars[20]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[21]
Sputnikmusic (4/5)[22]
Stylus Magazine D[23]

Overall, critical reception for the album was mixed. The piano-oriented sound of the album drew comparisons with British piano-rock band Keane, and Coldplay (whose music - although classified as alternative - is driven by the piano).[21][24]

Allmusic, whilst giving the album a modestly positive review, stated that the band "lacked originality" and the album itself lacked any "inspiration and excitement".[15] Stylus Magazine gave the album a negative review, stating "The Fray, as a rule, are moribund, emotionally strained, uninvolving, and have a tendency to sound like The Cranberries fronted by a man."[23] Rolling Stone and Blender echoed many of these statements, both giving the album three stars out of five.[16][21]

Sputnikmusic criticised the negative reviews, stating "there may be some skeptics who say it's just another mainstream band with no talent.....take one listen through the entire album and you might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome."[22] Jesus Freak Hideout gave the album a glowing review, stating "How to Save a Life is nearly perfect. Nearly every song's message contains key values and life' lessons."[19]

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
2006 ARIA Australian Albums Chart 1 (Platinum)[25]
2006 New Zealand Albums Chart 2 (Platinum)[26]
2007 UK Album Charts 4 (Platinum)[27]
2007 Irish Album Charts 4
2006 Canadian Albums Chart 9 (Platinum)[28]
2006 The Billboard 200 14 (2x Platinum)[29]
2007 Belgium Albums Chart 47
2007 Dutch Albums Chart 50
2007 German Albums Chart 56
2007 Swiss Albums Chart 57
2007 Spanish Albums Chart 21
2007 Italian Albums Chart 85
2007 French Album Chart 86

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • The album won all three awards in the digital category at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards: Digital Album of the Year, Digital Album Artist of the Year and Digital Songs Artist of the Year while the band was nominated for New Artist of the Year.[30]

Trivia[edit]

Samples[edit]

Sample of "How to Save a Life"

Sample of "Over My Head (Cable Car)"

Problems playing these files? See media help.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Fray Biography". Activemusician.com. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  2. ^ "The Fray: 'How To Save A Life' Now The Biggest Selling Digital Album Of All Time!". Sony BMG. 
  3. ^ "The digital success of The Fray (3:38)". Reuters. 
  4. ^ http://www.billboard.com/#/charts-decade-end/digital-albums?year=2009&begin=21&order=position
  5. ^ Smith, Dane (March 30, 2006). "The Fray Live the High "Life"". Rolling Stone. 
  6. ^ "Completely Frayed". Longmont Daily Times-Call. May 12, 2006. 
  7. ^ "The Fray Trivia & Quotes". TV.com. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  8. ^ "The Fray Biography". Starpulse.com. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  9. ^ "Modern Rock Tracks". Billboard. October 22, 2005. 
  10. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. October 7, 2006. 
  11. ^ "Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks". Billboard. October 7, 2006. 
  12. ^ "First half sales: Downloads up; CDs, revenues down". USA Today. July 13, 2006. [dead link]
  13. ^ "The Fray – How to Save a Life: Charts".  Last accessed May 12, 2007
  14. ^ "The Fray – their story to date".  Last accessed May 12, 2007
  15. ^ a b Sendra, Tim. "How to Save a Life - The Fray".  Last accessed October 23, 2006
  16. ^ a b Hunter, James (November 2005). "Review: The Fray - How to Save a Life". Blender. 
  17. ^ "The Fray - How to Save a Life". Entertainment.ie. March 13, 2007. 
  18. ^ Jason Adams (September 9, 2005). "How to Save a Life Review". Entertainment Weekly. 
  19. ^ a b Logan Leasure (2007-12-10). "The Fray, "How To Save A Life" Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  20. ^ Callaway, Chris (January–February 2007). "The Fray How to Save a Life". HM Magazine (123): 64. ISSN 1066-6923. 
  21. ^ a b c "Review: The Fray - How to Save a Life". Rolling Stone. September 22, 2005. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b "The Fray - How to Save a Life (album review) | Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. 2005-12-15. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  23. ^ a b Dom Passantino (2006-02-14). "The Fray - How to Save a Life - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  24. ^ Gardner, Elysa (July 12, 2006). "Debut 'How to Save a Life' takes on a life of its own". USA Today. 
  25. ^ "http://www.aria.com.au/pages/ARIACharts-Accreditations-2007Albums.htm". Aria.com.au. 2007-12-31. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  26. ^ "The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Rianz.org.nz. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  27. ^ http://www.bpi.co.uk/certifiedawards/search.aspx
  28. ^ CRIA Gold & Platinum certifications for January 2007. Retrieved July 25, 2007.
  29. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  30. ^ a b "Fray Awards & Features". Metrolyrics.com. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  31. ^ "49th Grammy Awards – 2007". Rock on the Net.  Last accessed February 22, 2007.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Extreme Behavior by Hinder
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
March 5–18, 2007
Succeeded by
Grand National by The John Butler Trio