Our Top 10 Songs from The Fray introduces us to an American rock band known for using the piano as their lead instrument, a style associated with bands like Keane and Coldplay. While other bands began their musical journey performing in the clubs, The Fray members would start lead worship in their churches and Christian school. Guitarist Joe King and vocalist Isaac Slade would in 2002 form The Fray only to have their former worship band members guitarist David Welsh and drummer Ben Wysocki join them later. After all, Joe and Isaac were several years ahead of Ben and David; hence, they would have to wait for them to complete their studies before forming a compact band. Thus, Joe and Isaac were left to choose a replacement for guitarist David and drummer Ben, which would later cause a rift between the band members when releasing the temporary artists. The rift would later inspire the Fray to make “Over My Head (Cable Car),” which became one of the band’s greatest ballads.
Success came knocking on The Fray’s doors following the band’s 2005 debut album How to Save a Life, whose songs led to critical acclaim globally. Their second eponymous album would outdo the former release, debuting at the top of the Billboard Charts and being nominated for a Grammys for the Best Award for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2010. The Fray’s lyrical content has been described as ethereal, theatrical, and purgative with a touch of themes of tribulations. Taking a sip of inspiration from successful bands such as The Wallflowers and U2, The Fray has become reputable in the alternative rock, pop-rock, and soft rock music stages. Our top 10 songs from The Fray prove how much of a rare gem this band is among rock acts.
#10 – All at Once
Ushering us to the top 10 The Fray songs is “All at Once” from the band’s debut album How to Save a Life. The song is about making decisions depicting that sometimes all we need to do is choose the hard options since they are the only solutions to some problem or issue. Probably, many can relate this to the pursuit of life, which by far is no simple walk. On the way, you will make tough choices in seeking a better life. After all, it’s the price you need to pay.
#9 – Run for Your Life
Written by vocalist Isaac Slade and guitarist Joe King, “Run for Your Life” introduces us to some of the best releases from The Fray’s album Scars and Stories. The song started with an idea of twins where one makes it while the other doesn’t. The survival of one of the twins leaves her with deep questions of why she. The Fray uses this song to remind people that you get back and pick up what’s left amongst the ashes when a village burns. In other words, we need to surge forward with life running even faster to avoid the demons of the past from haunting us.
#8 – Love Don’t Die
“Love Don’t Die” is one of the great ballads from The Fray’s 2014 album Helios. The Fray’s singer Isaac Slade teamed up with Ryan Tender to pen the lyrics to this sublime song. Thanks to legendary songwriter Ryan Tender’s great input, the song finds a soft spot in the hearts of many rock fans. A former schoolmate to Isaac Slade, Ryan Tender has been one of the influential songwriters having him compose songs for iconic artists such as Beyoncé, Leona Lewis, and Kelly Clarkson. In only an hour and a half, the two penned down a perfect ballad that stated the claim ‘Love does not die.’
#7 – Heartbeat
Taking us back to The Fray’s album Scars & Stories, “Heartbeat” is a perfect ballad penned by Isaac Slade and Joe King. The song was inspired by frontman Isaac Slade’s split personality and the personal breakdown that he underwent in 2009’s summer. Here, Isaac reveals how he got stuck between being a people pleaser and a loner. Trying to please people had him die inside. On the other hand, King would add to the song his first dating experiences after divorce.
#6 – Look After You
Number six in our top 10 songs from The Fray is “Look After You” from the band’s 2005 album How to Save a Life. The song is about the first girl that Isaac Slade said he felt deeply in love with. In his word, he felt a hundred percent about, meaning she completed him. Some songs are just heaven-sent since the girl in the topic was his girlfriend Anna, who later became his wife.
#5 – Heartless
Featured on their eponymous second album, “Heartless” brings the best of The Fray’s performance on a cover. Kanye West initially did “Heartless” in his album 808’s & Heartbreak. The original song charted at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 on the UK Singles Chart. While “Heartless” might have been a rap song, The Fray did some great performance on the song in a pop version.
#4 – Never Say Never
“Never Say Never” is yet another song from the band’s eponymous album worth mentioning in the top 10 songs from The Fray. The hit is a direct love song between two people who seem to have fallen into a vicious cycle, break up and reunite. Guitarist Dave Welsh would reveal that it is hard to handle music tours while knowing your woman out there is trying to part from you. Choosing one of the two entirely is also impossible. The song was used as the soundtrack to the film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
#3 – Over My Head (Cable Car)
Number two in our top 10 songs from The Fray is the hit “Over My Head (Cable Car)” from the band’s debut album. The song was inspired by the fight rift between singer Isaac Slade and his brother Caleb “Cable Car,” who got kicked out from the band back in 2002. As you could have thought, the rift would have had the band come apart, but luckily, The Fray used this moment as a turning point to revive their career ambitions. As a result, the song charted high in the UK Singles Chart and Billboard Hot 100 chart at numbers 19 and 8, respectively.
#2 – You Found Me
Featured on the band’s second eponymous album, “You Found Me,” debuted on a commercial break of a TV show that supported the band with their debut album. The song was conceived back in 2006 when Isaac found himself pondering why the worst happens to good people. This came after he witnessed tons of crises among his close mates. The song was inspired by a dream he had meeting God on a street corner where he sought answers from him. But did he find any answers in his dream?
#1 – How to Save a Life
“How to Save a Life” is by far the highlight of The Fray’s music career so far. Featured on their debut album, the song is about an experience Isaac had while working at a camp for troubled young souls. The song reminds us of the band’s roots in religious acts having it feature some religious texts that referenced God. Surprisingly, the Christian music community loved the song sending it to number 4 on the Christian Songs chart even though it wasn’t marketed as a Christian song.
Top 10 Fray Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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