The Bottom Line
Sometimes the context and words of a song easily overwhelm any particular concerns about the performance. The Fray's song "How to Save a Life" is one of those. Inspired by experiences working at a camp for troubled teens, Isaac Slade's words easily ring true for many listeners. The use of the song in promotion for the new fall season of Grey's Anatomy will only enhance the drama of the words for many listeners.
Watch a live performance of "How to Save a Life" at AOL Music.
- Powerful words
- Melody that sinks in quickly
- Nothing significant
- Simple, engaging piano-based melody
- Emotionally taut lyrics
- Classic pop song structure
Guide Review - The Fray - How to Save a Life
The song "How to Save a Life" was born out of the experiences of Isaac Slade, the singer and pianist of The Fray, working as a mentor at a summer camp for troubled teens. He faced an experience common to many of us - how to help someone who is having severe difficulty in helping himself or herself. Then he went one step further and turned the experience into a song. This is how some of the most meaningful and riveting pop songs are born.
On the surface, "How to Save a Life" is simply a fairly catchy piano-based ballad. However, as you begin to sing along with the words of the chorus:
Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
The song begins to sink in a little deeper. Coming on the heels of the Fray's top 10 breakthrough pop single "Over My Head (Cable Car)", "How to Save a Life" already had a good chance at success. However, "How to Save a Life" is also being used as primary theme music to promote the fall debut of Grey's Anatomy, one of the hottest dramas on television. This exposure has made the song a very hot chart item.
The Fray have become quickly established as masters of emotional, melodic pop-rock. In a pop music market often sharply divided into r&b, punk pop, and teen pop camps, the Fray provide a comfortable middle ground with memorable, thoughtful songs that appeal across a wide range of pop music fans.