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In Defense of... The Fray's "Heartbeat"


Looks like Coldplay released their album Mylo Xyloto on Monday. I'm racking my head about what the album title means. Is it the name of Chris Martin's pet axolotl? No idea.

So, instead, I'm gonna put Mylo Xyloto off and check out at another soft-rock band -- one often compared to Coldplay -- that released a new single a few weeks ago.

Indeed, comparisons with Coldplay have dogged Colorado band The Fray since its breakthrough 2005 single, "How to Save a Life."

But both band's sounds diverged so far in six years that the comparison doesn't really fly anymore. Whereas Coldplay went up their own asses with museum imagery, hollow arena grandeur and genre experiments, The Fray stuck to doing one thing well -- competent piano-based rock.

But don't let the piano fool you: The Fray is so hardcore these days, people start fights in front of them when they perform, like a couple of guys did at the Bud Light Hotel Super Bowl Party here in town back in February.

The Fray's latest single, "Heartbeat," which is possibly inspired by the Don Johnson song of the same name, is a bit louder and heavier than the band's usual stuff. If the chords in "Heartbeat" sound a bit like the Xyloto track "Charlie Brown," it's just to remind us how far the Brits have strayed.

Sure, both tracks seem to have a fire-based lyrical theme, but the similarities end there. For one, the lyrical theme of "Heartbeat" has two runaways keeping each other warm in the rain. It's grounded and consistent. To compare, in "Charlie Brown," the "fire" only appears as a throwaway images with scarecrow dreams and bright red roses.

Also: "Charlie Brown" doesn't even mention the Peanuts protagonist. That's such a cold play, dudes.

On the other hand, The Fray's "Heartbeat" is just an energizing track. So much so, in fact, that it makes me want to punch somebody in the face.

Well done, boys!


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