Recording information: Couple Studios, Boulder, CO; Echo Park Studios, Bloomington, IN; Sony Studios, New York, NY.
Photographer: Eliot Hazel.
Some artists are perfectly suited for the greatest-hits/career highlights package treatment, and Colorado stadium/American trad-rock foursome the Fray are textbook examples. Since the release of group's debut album in 2005, they've racked up the sales and the awards, but rarely the critical accolades, and that formula begets a retrospective that ultimately outshines their singular works. Front-loaded with their biggest chart successes, "Over My Head (Cable Car)," "How to Save a Life," "Look After You," "You Found Me," and "Never Say Never," Through the Years: The Best of the Fray earns its moniker through example. The addition of late period highlights like "Heartbeat" and "Love Don't Die," both of which would have likely found more favor during the mid-aughts alt-kissed AOR rock boom that heralded their Billboard and Grammy-nominated predecessors, helps to provide the finishing touches -- the lone new track, "Singing Low," should provide enough of an enticement for longtime fans to give the 12-track set a go. Ultimately, the idea of a "career retrospective" from a band with only four studio albums under their collective belts is a little bit hard to endorse, but in keeping with the all-killer, no-filler motif that should be the template for all anthologies, the Fray have curated their most cohesive collection of songs to date. ~ James Christopher Monger