The Fray’s “How To conserve A Life” is based upon a real-life endure of one of its composers, Isaac Slade. And no, despite how some world may translate this tune, over there does not show up 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, physics sense. Rather come him what this term amounts to is the individual at hand – that is certainly woefully depressed and alienated – coming clean, agree his mistakes and moving top top constructively with his life.

Or together the vocalist place it, ideally this person “will recognize to everything”. And the different isn’t the he take away his very own life. Fairly it is much more akin come the singer’s friend continuing to be in his developed self-destructive mode, through the singer himself regretting his decision to interference in the an initial place.

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An action of intervention

And yes, this tune is based upon an action – or perhaps more so we have the right to ideology – that intervention. Once again going ago to Isaac Slade, he made decision to volunteer because that an company that deals with troubled teens. While there, he to be paired v one who was not just a drug addict but likewise practiced physical self-harm. And because of such disturbing behaviors, dude had 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 of this individual because that a weekend. The did his ideal verbally – and one can also say faithfully – come positively impact his life. And it is that communication which this lyrics are essentially based on. And also considering how serious the case is, yes, it could be put forth that the location alludes to conserving a life literally. But all points considered, the does no necessarily connote a person committing suicide – rather more along the currently of said individual wasting self gradually.

A friend

Meanwhile based upon the yes, really wording of the song, the singer puts it into the context that he is rather managing “a friend”, i.e. Someone he’s been connected with because that a lengthy time, as opposed to the setup mentioned above. 

But when going earlier to the ide of intervention, that is the singer who decides that this very same individual needs a good talking to. And native the onset there is a feeling of pessimism ~ above the narrator’s behalf the such will certainly not be successful. For the 2 of them room not ~ above the same page, apparently because of the friend no being truthful.

But this is not since he is a negative person. To the contrary, it is “fear and also blame” which is preventing him native confronting his past and indeed present.

The Addressee’s Mentor

Then the singer’s next objective is to present himself as a credible mentor pertaining to the matter at hand. Verily, the is rather confident the he does “know best”. And he extends said knowledge to anyone who is objectively the end to accomplish a similar goal, i.e. Bravely instructing an additional individual to his or her betterment.

And the primary an obstacle at hand is obtaining his mentee’s to trust while at the very same time not giving this person the impression that everything is all good.

So the proceeds come delineate the troubles he consciousness in the who life come him. Indeed the situation reads favor he has constantly been in his ear about said issues. Then the singer additionally incorporates a small bit of prayer top top his friend’s behalf. It has actually been provided that The Fray room in reality a band consisting of devoted Christians. 

But even beyond that, the narrator’s decision to carry out so – and to encourage his friend to execute the exact same – would also be representative the his in its entirety feeling that hopelessness, i.e. The perceived require for divine intervention in this situation.


Then it is in the third verse the the story concludes as aforementioned, v the narrator leaving his buddy to make his own selection concerning the future. Meanwhile the chorus is indicative of exactly 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 touched upon in the song. And the said reason has something to carry out with him supposedly at one point becoming so ‘bitter’ v his friend that he excommunicated him as opposed to practicing this same type of intervention when the moment was riper to carry out so. 

And in ~ the end of the day, what the title is in reality symbolic the is the vocalist having actually learned a valuable lesson follow me the way, i m sorry is “how to conserve a life”. In other words, the narrator concludes the if he had taken his friend’s condition much more seriously and also sympathetically indigenous the run – and also acted as necessary – then that person would not have degenerated into the unsavory state which the is right now in.

Release date of “How to conserve a Life”

This is the title track from The Fray’s maiden album. And The Fray is a rock band hailing indigenous Denver, the capitol that the state the Colorado.

This track was officially released, via epic Records, ~ above 13 September 2005. And it also acted as the second single indigenous the album it share its surname with.

“How To conserve A Life” Meets v Success

This is taken into consideration to be The Fray’s signature or at least most-successful song, as it perform impressively in a variety of ways. For instance, it peaked at number 3 top top the Billboard hot 100 and remained on said list for 58 mainly straight.

It also appeared ~ above six various other Billboard charts (including the Christian Songs listing), in the process topping 3 of them:

Adult different SongsAdult Contemporary The Adult top 40

In addition to the above, that earned fourth place ~ above the UK Singles Chart. And it charted in about 20 countries overall, achieving multi-platinum status in the US and Italy. Moreover it holds the distinction, together of 2015, that being among the peak 5 rock songs in terms of digital sales (coming out about the time digital songs just began taking off), having moved practically 5,000,000 copies electronically.

And along those very same lines it should be noted that “How to conserve a Life” (the album) walk take residence a 2006 Billboard Music Award, gift named Digital Album the the Year.

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

Television Appearances

Greatly contributing to the success of “How to conserve a Life” is the truth that it has actually been featured quite prominently on “Grey’s Anatomy”, a popular television display which itself focuses largely top top a team of lifesavers. In fact one episode of the show, i m sorry aired in 2015, was also named after ~ this song. Yet even prior to that, it could be said that the monitor buttressed the series just as lot as evil versa.

Other famous TV program whichhave utilized this tuneincludeScrubs(another show about medics) andBig brother UK.

See more: Why Put Off Till Tomorrow What Can Be Done Today, Never Put Off Till Tomorrow What You Can Do Today

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 space actually four official music videos to “How to save a Life”. Two of them attribute clips from “Grey’s Anatomy”. However, neither of them room what is considered the primary one out of the bunch. Rather that would be the 3rd music video clip created, which the well-tenured Mark Pellington directed.