The Fray’s co-founder, singer/pianist Isaac Slade, has a penchant for melancholy storytelling. Nine of the album’s 10 tracks chronicle damaged or dysfunctional relationships. Three songs involve guys begging someone not to leave ("Syndicate," "Never Say Never," "Ungodly Hour"). "You Found Me" revolves around a man’s disappointment with God following a breakup. "I found God/On the corner of First and Amistad," Slade sings. "Where were you/When everything was falling apart?" God shows up ("Lost and insecure/You found me"), but it was later than the singer had hoped ("Why’d you have to wait?/Where were you?").
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"Absolute" and "Say When" comment on people rushing unwisely into emotional and perhaps physical intimacy. "Where the Story Ends" recounts a sad tale of estrangement between a mother and her grown child. Similarly, "Enough for Now" tells a complex family story in which a son consoles his mother for the mistakes of his grandfather, who abandoned the family for an affair. "Happiness" gets personified as a fickle woman who only shows up when you quit looking for her ("Look for it, and you'll never find it/Let it go, live your life and leave it/Then one day, wake up, and she'll be home").
"Happiness" contains the album's lone profanity ("Happiness d--n near destroys you"). "You Found Me" tells of finding God "all alone, smoking his last cigarette." Mildly suggestive language shows up on "Say When" ("And my own two hands will comfort you tonight"). Finally, "We Build Then We Break" implies retribution after someone is abused ("I will be two steps behind you/You will not know what's got you").
Genuinely good feelings on this moody, brooding disc are few. But with the exception of one profanity, an irreverent reference to a puffing deity and a couple intimations of intimacy, there aren't many content concerns on The Fray's second, self-titled effort.
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This Denver band's sophomore effort debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart with sales of 179,000 its debut week. Single "You Found Me" peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100 chart.