The Fray’s “How To save A Life” is based upon a real-life endure of among its composers, Isaac Slade. And no, in spite of how some people may translate this tune, over there does not appear to be any kind of direct allusions to self-destruction within the lyrics.

That is come say that the singer is not really introduce to ‘saving a life’ in a literal, physical sense. Rather come him what this term equals is the individual available – who is indeed woefully depressed and also alienated – coming clean, accepting his mistakes and moving top top constructively with his life.

Or together the vocalist put it, ideally this human being “will recognize to everything”. And the alternate isn’t the he bring away his own life. Fairly it is an ext akin come the singer’s friend staying in his developed self-destructive mode, through the singer self regretting his decision to intervene in the very first place.

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An plot of treatment

And yes, this song is based upon an act – or perhaps an ext so we have the right to ideology – that intervention. Once again going ago to Isaac Slade, he determined to volunteer for an company that encounters troubled teens. While there, he to be paired v one who to be not just a medicine addict but likewise practiced physics self-harm. And as result of such psychic behaviors, dude had actually been ostracized by his family, friends and even finest friend, the last of which really depressed him.

Slade had chose to interference in the life that this individual for a weekend. The did his best verbally – and one can even say faithful – come positively influence his life. And the is that communication which these lyrics are fundamentally based on. And also considering exactly how serious the instance is, yes, it can be placed forth that the location alludes to conserving a life literally. But all points considered, it does not necessarily connote a human being committing self-destruction – rather an ext along the lines of claimed individual wasting self gradually.

A friend

Meanwhile based upon the really wording the the song, the singer put it right into the context the he is rather managing “a friend”, i.e. Someone he is been connected with because that a long time, together opposed come the setup mentioned above. 

But once going ago to the ide of intervention, the is the singer that decides that this very same individual needs a great talking to. And native the onset over there is a sense of pessimism ~ above the narrator’s behalf the such will not it is in successful. For the two of them room not ~ above the exact same page, apparently as result of the friend no being truthful.

But this is not because he is a negative person. To the contrary, the is “fear and also blame” i beg your pardon is preventing him indigenous confronting his past and also indeed present.

The Addressee’s Mentor

Then the singer’s following objective is to existing himself together a credible mentor pertaining come the issue at hand. Verily, the is rather confident the he go “know best”. And he extends said expertise to anyone who is objectively the end to accomplish a comparable goal, i.e. Bravely instructing an additional individual to his or her betterment.

And the primary difficulty at hand is obtaining his mentee’s trust while at the exact same time not providing this human the impression that whatever is all good.

So that proceeds to delineate the problems he consciousness in the who life come him. Indeed the instance reads prefer he has actually constantly remained in his ear around said issues. Then the singer likewise incorporates a little bit of prayer ~ above his friend’s behalf. It has actually been noted that The Fray are in fact a band consisting of devoted Christians. 

But even beyond that, the narrator’s decision to do so – and also to encourage his friend to perform the very same – would additionally be representative the his overall feeling of hopelessness, i.e. The perceived need for divine intervention in this situation.


Then the is in the third verse that the story concludes together aforementioned, with the narrator leaving his buddy to do his own selection concerning the future. Meanwhile the chorus is indicative of how the singer feels about his own role in the grand system of the matter. And basically, that believes that he himself has failed.


The factor the narrator is under together an impression is slightly touch upon in the song. And also the claimed reason has actually something to perform with him apparently at one allude becoming so ‘bitter’ with his friend that he excommunicated him together opposed to practicing this same type of treatment when the time was riper to execute so. 

And in ~ the end of the day, what the location is in reality symbolic of is the vocalist having actually learned a an useful lesson follow me the way, which is “how to save a life”. In various other words, the narrator concludes the if he had taken his friend’s condition much more seriously and sympathetically from the run – and also acted accordingly – climate that human would not have degenerated right into the unsavory state which that is right now in.

Release day of “How to conserve a Life”

This is the title monitor from The Fray’s maiden album. And The Fray is a rock tape hailing native Denver, the capitol of the state that Colorado.

This track was officially released, via epic Records, ~ above 13 September 2005. And it also acted together the 2nd single from the album it shares its name with.

“How To save A Life” Meets v Success

This is thought about to it is in The Fray’s signature or at least most-successful song, together it performed impressively in a number of ways. For instance, it peaked at number 3 top top the Billboard hot 100 and remained on said list because that 58 main straight.

It also appeared on six other Billboard charts (including the Christian Songs listing), in the procedure topping three of them:

Adult different SongsAdult Contemporary The Adult top 40

In enhancement to the above, the earned 4th place top top the UK Singles Chart. And that charted in approximately 20 nations overall, achieve multi-platinum condition in the US and also Italy. Moreover the holds the distinction, as of 2015, of being among the optimal 5 rock songs in regards to digital sales (coming out about the time digital songs just began taking off), having moved practically 5,000,000 copies electronically.

And along those same lines it must be listed that “How to save a Life” (the album) walk take house a 2006 Billboard Music Award, gift named Digital Album that the Year.

In 2007 this song additionally earned The Fray a Grammy nomination, especially in the group of Best Rock power by a Duo or team with Vocal. However, it shed to a Red hot Chili Peppers’ song entitled “Dani California“.

Television Appearances

Greatly contributing to the success of “How to conserve a Life” is the truth that it has been featured rather prominently on “Grey’s Anatomy”, a renowned television present which itself focuses largely on a team of lifesavers. In fact one illustration of the show, which aired in 2015, was also named after this song. However even prior to that, it could be said that the track buttressed the series just as lot as evil versa.

Other popular TV programs whichhave made use of this tuneincludeScrubs(another show about medics) andBig brothers UK.

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At the moment of the release of this track, The Fray’s lineup included vocalist:

Isaac Slade Dave Welsh Joe King Ben Wysocki Dan Battenhouse (who had left the crew in 2004) 

Music Video

There room actually four main music videos to “How to conserve a Life”. Two that them feature clips from “Grey’s Anatomy”. However, no of them room what is considered the primary one out of the bunch. Rather that would certainly be the 3rd music video created, which the well-tenured Mark Pellington directed.