May 22, 2009

The Fray (STA)

Artist/Band: The Fray

Album: The Fray (Self Titled Album)

Release Date: February 3, 2009

Tracks: 10

Runtime: 47 Minutes

Track Breakdown:

1) “Syndicate” – A decent piano tune, but completely unremarkable. With lyrics that sound like you should be sung a lullaby, instead of being soothed, you’re given an upbeat, just a little-to-loud pop-rock tone. 1 ½ *’s.

2) “Absolute” – Lacking rhyme scheme, alliteration structure, and anything distinctive about it, this is looking to be a poor album already. It’s credibility becomes shoddy when I’m actually glad that a track sounds like it’s borrowing from Switchfoot. 1 ½ *’s.

3) You Found Me” – (Click title for youtube link) Likely the only reason this album was rushed out to the public. Naturally, selling over two million digital downloads in the United States alone, You Found Me is a reaching out to anyone who’s ever struggled. It’s also totally rad to think about God chilling, smoking a cigarette, even though I’m a very anti-tobacco proponent. 5*’s.

4) “Say When” - Another case of great lyrics, wrong pitch. I can understand desperately wanting someone to the point of agony, but what I’m hearing in the tone of the song is more of a funeral comfort song. Someone else is going through a hard time and you want to comfort them, not your own turmoil. 2 ½ *’s.

5) Never Say Never” – (Click title for youtube link) The second single of the album, very heavy on the somber tone and lyrics, which surprisingly, do match. The delivery falls a little flat in areas, particularly where singer, Isaac Slade tries to be Keane or James Blunt with his falsetto’s, but not everyone can deliver a great piano-driven melody like Seal. Overall, just a slightly better than mediocre track. 3 ½ *’s.

6) “Where The Story Ends” – Despite the line in this song “I know you hate this one”, I actually found it just peppy enough to be a toe-tapper. It’s almost like the Peanuts theme. I don’t feel inspired by it in anyway, but it’s listenable to. 3*’s.

7) “Enough For Now” – (Click title for youtube link) An emotionally packed punch from way down deep, great for anyone who’s dealing with the passing of a loved one, especially a father figure. The likely dark horse of the album that won’t receive the media-driven acclaim it’ll deserve. No music video, no radio play, just a secret gem for those who actually buy the CD or seek it out based off of reviews like mine. 5*’s.

8) “Ungodly Hour” – While Isaac Slade times and hits his falsettos well in this track, there’s little substance to really sink your teeth into. The story is clear – your girl is leaving you, but we the listeners don’t receive much insight into your feelings on the matter beyond your near-tears singing. Tossing out the line “I am short on words” isn’t an e-ticket to acceptance. If you don’t know how to articulate your thoughts, then maybe don’t make a song about it just yet. A generous 3*’s.

9) “We Build Then We Break” – If I understand the lyrics correctly, Slade is ready to murder someone for hurting a girl he loves. On paper, that sounds like a great topic to hit on, but when it comes to delivery, it just comes across as pop and soft-spoken as everything else on this album. You really have to dig into your dark side to construct a revenge song with a piano. 2*’s.

10) “Happiness” – Filler, filler, filler, filler. I don’t really care what little things makes you happy, such as a firecracker sitting on your headboard. But I think the main reason I don’t care is because I’m not forced to care. There was nothing drawing me in about this song. 1 ½ *’s, ending like we began.

My Highlights: Obviously, the two singles of the album – “You Found Me”, and “Never Say Never”, but especially check out “Enough For Now” to be on the inside scoop before it launches into popularity. This way, you can be that totally cool person who can brag “I knew about that song waaaay before it got all this radioplay!” Who doesn’t want that street cred?

Overall Rating: Averaging the stars, it comes to roughly 2 ¾ *’s. What that means – don’t waste your money on the album. I couldn’t suggest shelling out the shillings for anything under 3*’s, however, do make it a point to listen to My Highlights. Other than those slim pickings from this short album, you’re not really missing anything.

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