How to Save a Life

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
How to Save a Life Music Poster Image
Popular with kids
Sweet, sentimental, and similar-sounding songs.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 17 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

A very subtle message of taking responsibility for oneself and taking care of friends.


One or two subtle references to suicide.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there are no offensive lyrics here -- just a collection of sweet and ever-so-slightly monotonous love songs, with one or two very subtle references to suicide.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfirelion March 23, 2015

a great album

How to save a life is a great album no dirty words no sex just good clean music that kids and adults can both enjoy
Adult Written by. April 9, 2008

Not that great

This is a pretty boring cd. Nothing for parents to worry about, but it just isnt that good. All of the songs sound pretty much the same, and even though the t... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byabbacus June 1, 2012

Amazing song, but sad.

Very good sad song about losing someone to suicide. I love all song by The Fray, but this is one of, if not my favorite. The music in it is beautiful and their... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old April 7, 2011


I LOVE THIS SONG! I LISTEN TO IT ON DAD'S iPOD! Good messages are....."Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend, somewhere along, in the bitterness sand... Continue reading

What's the story?

HOW TO SAVE A LIFE is the full-length debut of The Fray, a Denver quartet deeply committed to medium-tempo, melodic pop songs about love, loss, and that all-important occasional glimmer of hope. Serious and emotional, the songs are well-crafted and well-played, though there really isn't a stick-in-your-head standout among them. Articulate on the subject of the complexities of love and relationships while covering no new ground, The Fray express themselves well with lyrics that are direct and honest. \"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\" (\"How to Save A Life\") is a good example of The Fray's songwriting. Competent and expressive, their greatest flaw is an absolute lack of humor or irony.

Is it any good?

Isaac Slade (vocals, piano), Joe King (guitar, vocals), Ben Wysocki (drums), and Dave Welsh (guitar) deliver fine performances all the way around, with an extra nod to Slade's piano playing and impressively emotive high notes. But some of his singing verges on whiny, and the songs (mostly credited to Slade and King) become monotonous after the first few tracks. If you love one, you'll love 'em all. If you don't, then wait awhile until the members of The Fray have had a chance to grow into their own unique sound... and their record-label press-kit hype.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it means to have a "sound" -- is it more important to have an identifiable musical MO that's recognizable or more important to take risks and dare to be different? Can you think of any groups that do both?

Music details

  • Artist: The Fray
  • Release date: September 13, 2005
  • Label: Sony Music
  • Genre: Indie Rock
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate