this most assuredly counts

posted at 10:44 pm by brandon in mine's on the 45

Straight up, I have utterly no idea in hell how this one got past me for months, since Amazon claims that it was released last November — can that really be true?! — but at least I’m all up to speed now: while doing my record shopping last week, I ran across a double-disc deluxe edition re-release of one of 2009’s most spectacular albums – The Fray‘s crisply compelling self-titled sophomore effort – and, for God and everybody, standing right there in the middle of Best Buy’s pop/rock section, I let out an audible squeal of joy so loudly unmistakable, I can scarcely believe the store staff didn’t have to come resuscitate me with smelling salts.

Disc one in this new set contains the original album in all its raging, riveting glory. Disc two, meantime, is loaded with eight bonus tunes, led by a stripped-down, shockingly strong cover of Kanye West’s radio smash “Heartless” (which became a radio hit itself last spring, and which inspired Kris Allen’s own rendition – which almost certainly won him the whole shebang – during last season’s “American Idol” finale). Also included: live takes on instant Fray classics “You Found Me” and “Never Say Never” (both recorded with the London Quartet), a pair of previously unreleased tracks (“Uncertainty” and “Be the One”), and a searing acoustic rendition, recorded last year at NYC’s Webster Hall, of the band’s breakthrough hit
“How to Save a Life.”

As irritated as I get over the out-of-control deluxe edition nonsense that is currently running rampant — witness last week’s ridonk Owl City update (as much of a blast as “Fireflies” undeniably is, ten bucks says that boy is this generation’s Murray Head, a one-hit wonder if I ever heard one!) — here stands not only an album that merits the expansion, but a marvelous template on how to do it justice.


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