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Scars & Stories

89 customer reviews

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Scars & Stories [+Digital Booklet]
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Audio CD, February 7, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Critically acclaimed Denver-based foursome The Fray are back with their third album, Scars & Stories. The album was recorded at the legendary Blackbird Studios in Nashville.
The Fray was able to hone their sound with the help of producer Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and Neil Young). On the new recording, the band transforms their real life experiences into a collection of songs that are reflective, but still maintain a pop sensibility. The making of Scars and Stories fostered the most evolution the band has ever experienced, both lyrically and musically. "On our first record, we didn't quite trust ourselves yet," says lead-singer Isaac Slade. "We loosened up on the second album, but there was still some element of restraint. But on this one, we just stepped up to plate and swung as hard as we could."
Scars & Stories leads with first single "Heartbeat," of which Slade notes, "That song came out of a period of my life when I was trying hard to be open to whatever came my way. I traveled through South Africa and Rwanda with a buddy, and at first it was really hard to stay open in the face of so much pain and heartache. But then I ended up meeting so many cool and inspiring people, and all these ideas for lyrics and melodies just started rushing in." The inspiration specifically came from a chance meeting with an expatriate woman. Speaking of the miracle of the capital city overcoming such remarkable odds, the two held hands and Slade reveals "I felt so connected to her. I couldn t tell if it was her pulse or mine."

The Fray is Isaac Slade (pianist/vocalist), Joe King (guitarist/vocalist), Dave Welsh (guitarist), and Ben Wysocki (drummer). The band formed in 2002 after high school friends Slade and King bumped into each other at a local guitar shop. The group achieved national success with their first single, "Over My Head (Cable Car)," which became a top ten hit in the U.S. The release of their second single, "How to Save a Life" brought them worldwide fame, and the group's second self-titled album debuted at number-one on the Billboard charts and was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album.

1. Heartbeat
2. The Fighter
3. Turn Me On
4. Run For Your Life
5. The Wind
6. 1961
7. I Can Barely Say
8. Munich
9. Here We Are
10. 48 To Go
11. Rainy Zurich
12. Be Still

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 7, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Epic
  • ASIN: B006362ZR6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,532 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Storylover TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD
When I put on the Fray, I'm looking for one thing--mellow rock tunes that are going to pull all my emotions to the fore. These guys had me hooked with the first note of "How to Save a Life" all those years ago, and I really look forward to each release now. I'm really happy to say that Scars and Stories continues their ability to craft catchy, hook filled rock with just the right amount of emotional delivery to pack a serious punch without becoming overly gooey. All the things I love are there--Isaac Slade's husky, burred and deeply heartfelt baritone is in great shape, and he somehow manages to sound hopeful and sad all at once on many of these tracks. Guitars are to the fore here, and in a good way--creative rock soloing without showboating. The piano is always there in the background, and the mix of piano to guitar is great. The tunes are so good--each one sounds like something you might have heard and loved before, but then you realize that it is not--but you decide just then that you are going to make it a favorite. Maybe that is what I love about these guys--the same thing I loved about Counting Crows at their finest moments--the ability to take a formula but make it new, keep it fresh, and keep me humming along. My favorite tracks thus far are "Heartbeat" (a great album opener with soaring vocals) and "I can Barely Say", which is simply stunning. Listen, with an open mind. If you have a problem with radio friendly, Grey's Anatomy friendly pop/rock, then this is not going to be the album for you. But if you secretly still rock out to Journey, if you love Counting Crows, if you occasionally like to be overwhelmed by love, then this is an album to enjoy and share.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kakashi on February 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This album is very good. I have been waiting for new music by The Fray every since there last album was released. I can say that this album was worth the wait. Their new sound is very good. I like how the sound has a larger emphasis on guitar. Piano like another reviewer said is still there though in the background. Though the song Be Still is a piano ballad. My favorite songs from the album so far are Be Still, Hearbeat (the first single), Run For Your Life, and I Can Barely Say. The lyrics for the songs are deep touching usual themes that the group has in their song such as love. While one would think that this would be repetitive or grow stale, the group manages to keep it fresh. I would highly recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of The Fray; it is a day one purchase.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Palma on February 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD
The Fray are true to their therapeutic reputation on "Scars and Stories." These are melodic, soothing, emotional forays, often downbeat in mood, crafted with the intent to apply balm to listeners' wounds.

Despite the more or less straightforward fashion in which The Fray write and record their songs, there are certainly songs that stand out from the warm pool of melancholy. "Munich" is intelligently arranged with downright beautiful harmonizing and vocal blends, while "Turn Me On" takes a short-lived detour from the despairing vibe with its jangly, radio-ready melody and arrangement.

"I Can Barely Say" is absolutely aching in its lyrical precision and deep-set, crackling melody. Isaac Slade's vocals are as piercing and emotional as ever. Lead single "Heartbeat" is pristine, managing to be both muscular in its arrangement and presentation while still retaining a stark, vulnerable quality rife with emotional resonance. It is a multifaceted track that deserves to bring The Fray their first Top 10 pop hit since 2008's impressive, though overplayed, "You Found Me."

"Scars and Stories" may be business as usual for the band, but it also benefits from verve, grit and artistic integrity. This is certainly a set of true, sincere, well-crafted music and is precisely what The Fray's fan base is looking for.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ooj on February 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD

It is so hard to describe this band...its very odd when a sort of sound comes along like that and you just CANT say they sound like one band...if I were to do any sort of comparrison, I'd say his voice sounds like John Mellencampp with a little John Mayer and maybe Chris Martin from Coldplay...while the music sounds like Coldplay mixed with Hootie and the Blowfish mixed with some of Mayer's music. Still, The Fray is The Fray.

If you really listen to this cd, it is remarkably pure and honest. It's as if you really feel like everything he's singing about is either a global issue, or a personal situation.

This cd has many standouts "01 - Heartbeat", "02 - The Fighter", the humm along "07 - I Can Barely Say" and "12 - Be Still", not to mention the rest of this non-track skipping album.

All in all, this is a remarkable cd to have. I was mostly impressed with how you can just press play and let it keep going. And after the last song finishes and the first song starts again, you just let it be and listen to it again. No two songs on this album are the same and it is definately a great buy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Terry Hill on February 8, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
One of the first MP3 downloads I purchased on Amazon.com was The Fray's self titled album in 2009. I was mesmerized by the piano lead and vocals and lyrics by Isaac Slade. Any poet worth his weight in salt will testify the lyrics originate from an authentic core of loss, pain, and ultimate redemption. I take issue with mainstream pop rock critics that underrate this exceptionally unique band. Comparisons to Coldplay and Keane are myopic at best. Their creative resonance and wordplay are different in their approach to storytelling. The Fray come off far more serious and straightforward than any of their comparative peers. It troubles me when critics from the major music magazines three star them, and write the band `lacked originality" and the album itself lacked any "inspiration and excitement". They just don't get it. When the lyrics in all of The Fray's albums revolve around life's problems and issues. Common themes include happiness, sadness, death,evil, of relationships, and war. The honest and emotional nature of the The Fray's songs has critics labeling them as "emo" or emotionally driven. In all honesty, what great song has not embraced emotion thoroughly? Scars and Stories thematically is about those painfully rough parts in our lives and discovering a way to love our way out or through them. The Fray is better than ever at expressing them, having two albums behind them and the critical bruises as proof. Is it The Fray's quest to be our ambassadors of giving us honesty instead of pop fluff? Yes, I'd say it is, and I'm grateful they are, because they do it so well. Buy "Scars & Stories" and find out where The Fray ends up. A clue is in the album cover. They aren't running away from the hurt,after listening to it they're running toward the love and joy they justly desererve.
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