For starters this "2007" release is actually a re-release of the 2003-4 EP that preceded the album most of you have referenced in your reviews. That being said, it's deficiencies are to be understandable. Judging from how most of you view their "first" album you should be pleased with the changes they made from their early more raw rock style Reasons EP to what you have under The Fray - How to Save a Life on your iPod.
Whoever said this album is amazing, must be addicted to The Fray because amazing it is not. However it does have its moments, and is pretty decent especially considering once again that it is their FIRST production CD. It's a great glimpse into what was happening, where they were and what the Fray was transitioning towards.
If you want to go track by track, then here's what to expect:
1. Together - Awful, unless you like garage bandish unpolished stuff. This song seriously sounds like it was off a demo tape of theirs and it very well may have been. It sounds more rockish than any of their recent stuff. This song is like they were trying to say, "Hey dude we can rock like every other group out right now" but... they couldn't, nor should they have tried to since their own style is what listeners have instantly appreciated. I give it 2 of 5 stars.
2. Some Trust - While the beloved piano makes its debut here, it is another song that points us toward the belief that the Fray might have originally wanted to be "tougher" sounding? OK not tougher, but not as acoustic as they ended up. It's in songs like this where the pairing of the piano with the guitar riffs just sound a little... abnormal at times? In listening to their latest album we find out which instrument won that battle. Though this song is not the best, it does get very close to synergizing the guitar and piano at times. I also know that this song would probably sound awesome in concert now. 4 of 5 stars
3. Vienna - This song, as we know, would be the musical most representative of what was to come. It is perfectly timed, smooth and effortless. A beautiful song we all love. Well done the Fray. 5 of 5.
4. Without Reason - This song again hows how much the Fray of old seemed to love the electric guitar (listen and you'll see what I'm talking about). It's not bad, it's actually pretty good though. I give it 4 of 5 stars. Again though I'm glad they moved away from that overly popular, electric, stringed instrument.
5. City Hall - Interesting tune. "I'm floating down without a fight". Perfect way to describe this song. While it's not horrible, I'd say it's the least memorable song on the album. I mean at least the first song is memorable based on its worthlessness. 2.5 stars.
6. Oceans - Pretty good song. It's pace is a little off though. It slows down then picks up... somewhat. I don't know. It just sounds like this song wants to be played faster. I bet it would be great in concert. 3.5 of 5 stars.
7. Unsaid - Probably the best song on the album (next to Vienna of course). However, it has no piano. This is weird since it's an acoustic, dudes and a guitar song. they could still keep it acoustic AND add the piano. It would have slowed down the song and in my opinion smoothed it out. Oh well, 3.9 stars.
So all in all this album has to get 4 of 5 stars. ESPECIALLY when you look at the body of work which would come later in the form of their most recent album. The kinks were worked out and the piano added to most if not all songs, while the electric guitar was downplayed. All in all a great freshman effort that, unlike what one of the reviewers remarked, actually did do a great job of paving the way for their excellent sophomore album.