The Fray - The Fray

Mixed or average reviews - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. The Fray's sophomore release picks up where How to Save a Life left off, reprising the same blend of piano-led ballads and midtempo pop/rock that helped establish the band in 2005.
  2. 80
    Not only a radio-friendly unit-shifter, but also a bona fide guilty pleasure. [Mar 2009, p.85]
  3. The band's piano rock suggests a more earnest, less arty Coldplay. The Fray are going for introspection and dramatic sweep but don't rise above bland pleasantries.
  4. A thoroughly professional, exquisitely produced, and utterly soulless album.
  5. Life had a handful of standouts, but follow-up The Fray is all blah, all the time: more minor-key melodies, more dreary tempos, more of singer-pianist Isaac Slade's spiceless sore-throat croon.
  6. 50
    The Denver foursome is spectacularly anonymous: poignant enough to bring out the waterworks, but generic enough not to get in the way of someone else’s story--making them the perfect soundtrack for prime-time melodrama.
  7. The Fray is a more angst-filled and melancholy set than you'd expect from a group following up a double-platinum debut, populated with songs about lost love and tortured souls. But hand-wringing music sells.
  8. The group doesn't stray far from the template, turning in another batch of hooky mid-tempo songs that are pretty without necessarily sounding distinctive.
  9. Slick yet soulless second effort from Denver’s Answer to Coldplay.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 4 out of 21
  1. Aug 1, 2014
    I'm not reviewing the deluxe edition because Heartless is Kanye West's joint.

    Syndicate (9) This song is really great because I can connect
    with it because of the associated lyrics with it. The instrumentals have good gains and the Piano makes the track better because it is what the Fray is known for.

    Absolute (9.25) This song has great builds for the listener with some great lyrics, especially in the beginning. The chorus is the best part in it. Near the end of the song, the song slows down and builds right back up. I really like listening to this track loud. I think they should have made a music video for this track.

    You Found Me (9.25) I believe this was the first single on the album and really made it my favorite album by The Fray. It has overtones of Depression and Religion in it which really can make you BiPolar when you listen to it depending on how you feel. My favorite line is 'losing her, the only who's ever known, who I am, who I'm not, who I want to be.' The chorus goes in and out very well and the ending of the song really accentuates the Piano well and how he talks about how he is ignored by someone he cares about and how it hurts him. It really makes me love this song because I can connect with it.

    Say When (9) I love how this song builds in the beginning and throughout it for that matter. The Piano in the middle adds a great element to the piece. The most interesting part of this song is how the tempo of the lyrics speed up with the instruments and at the end he is screaming and the instruments are very loud and then the song proceeds to the chorus.

    Never Say Never (9) This song is really great for someone who needs hope for something they care about and didn't go their way. The whole 'younger now than we were before' is a great line I feel. This song has more Piano than the other songs on the album up to this point which really gives it a different feel like The Fray wants to change the mood of the album.

    Where The Story Ends (8.5) Another Piano heavy piece which describes probably who he cares about who is going through a tough time. I really like this song because after all the energy of the first group of songs, The Fray probably wants you to relax a little bit.

    Enough For Now (9) This song has a great melody and message. It is very soothing and adds violins into the picture which was really cool I thought. My favorite line that alot of people can identify with I feel is 'sixty years of sorrow, he got five or six of bliss.'

    Ungodly Hour (8.5) This song really shows that the album is wrapping up and is great to listen to by the fire like on Christmas or something. My favorite part of the song is the Piano solo in the middle end of the song followed by the electric guitar solo you don't expect will pop up at all in the song.

    We Build Then We Break (8.5) This is a good song that speeds up the tempo from the song before and they throw interesting instruments in the track subtly. The vocals are good and the drums have a good little simple beat. The electric guitar in the middle end is a really good addition to the piece and the long notes Issac holds kind of shows his range.

    Happiness (9.25) This song really shows the beauty of acoustic guitar. I guess I think of John Lennon when I think about happiness even though he beat his wife. It's not a number in a bank, all it is getting what you want internally. I guess it really shows that we shouldn't judge other people if they are different than ourselves because maybe they have what they want. Or maybe they are just ignorant and think they are happy.
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 30, 2013
    The album is laid out in a way that makes it worth listening to straight through, and sort of expresses some of the confusion in emotion that the band probably had at this period when trying to make a follow up album for a great first album. There are a few amazing songs in this album, it contains "you found me" as a popular track to get a lot of popular radio air time, but also the song "Happiness" which is a standalone great song, satisfying end to the album, yet not laid out in a way to gain radio popularity so no one can hear it. Overall, the emotion is a bit less there and the theme kind of switches around, but it is musically a brilliant album, better than the first as the young band naturally got better. Full Review »
  3. Mar 19, 2012
    Very disappointing. "How To Save A Life" had beautiful ballads, like "Hundred" and "Look After You". I felt real emotion in that album. This self-titled release seems like a poor copy of their debut. It doesn't feel honest or authentic anymore, just tired and bland, like they were trying to recreate their old songs in order to gain the same commercial success. Standout tracks for me are "Absolute" and "Happiness". Most others, like "Where The Story Ends" and "Ungodly Hour" are nothing but forgettable. Full Review »