Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

Isaac Slade, frontman and co-founder of The Fray, recently talked with Billboard magazine about the difficulty many groups have keeping their sound fresh. "For us, we've seen a lot of bands and artists get onto the scene, figure out something that works, and then just stick with it, I think out of a little bit of a fear," Slade said. "We've been doing this for 10 years, 11 years. And if we want to do this for another 10 years, we're going to have to keep progressing and keep growing and keep challenging ourselves."

And so this Denver alt-rock act's fourth effort, Helios, boasts a bit of '70s-esque disco-inspired funk (call it a Maroon 5 vibe) and doses of U2's seemingly never-ending musical influence. Mostly, though, The Fray still sounds like The Fray. Which is mostly a good thing.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

On "Hold My Hand," a man recognizes and works to resist his tendency to flee difficulties—a habit that apparently shaped an ancestor's life as well: "I found a picture in my basement/My face a hundred years ago/But I don't wanna do like he did/So full of pride and all alone/Escape is in my blood/Fear is in my bones/But I don't wanna walk that road/Please help me."

The promise of purposeful permanence permeates "Wherever This Goes" ("From this moment till the day the curtains close/Don't matter at all, 'cause I will be forever yours/Wherever this goes"). And "Love Don't Die" similarly affirms lifelong faithfulness ("If I know one thing that's true/It's that I'm never leaving you/ … And even if they try/They'll never take my body from your side"). Another love song, "Shadow and a Dancer," focuses on long-haul faithfulness as well. "We know the summer thrill is gone," sings Slade (who's been married to his wife, Anna, since 2006), "But we've never been so in love."

"Give It Away" encourages listeners to share their love with the world ("Go on and light it up/And let 'em see you do your thing like you were born again/Free, love is free, love is free/Come on and give it away") and hints at the contagious influence of love in action ("Come and walk that walk/Across the seven seas/Come on and start this fire/Bigger than you and me").

Things aren't going so well for someone on "Keep on Wanting" ("Everything you want in broken pieces on the floor"). Still, Slade counsels against collapsing into despair ("Open your broken heart/And keep on wanting") and exhorts this straggling soul to keep on keepin' on ("There's two kinds of people: those who try and those who don't/And only time will tell which one you are") before concluding, "You will find the way to go/ … You may be stronger than you know." Likewise, "Our Last Days" insists that love is stronger than change and loss ("This love will stand now and always/These hearts will burn till our last days").

"Break Your Plans" begs a woman not to leave. "Same as You" empathizes with a loved one's fears even as it wisely acknowledges, "No one can take this from you/No, we can't carry this for you/But you can stand if you want to/Or fall if you want to/I do feel the same as you."

Objectionable Content

A woman described as "so fierce and full of that fire" commands a man's carnal attention on "Hurricane." "I wanna meet her," he says, then adds, "I wanna feel her, I wanna hold her body close to me/ … Lost in the riot, peace and quiet, and the one I lust." Sensual lines show up in "Shadow and a Dancer" too ("Hello, love/Remember that touch/That skin-on-skin rush/Sweeping up the both of us"). "Same as You" hints at intimacy with, "Lying here, swear you can feel me/Reach your hand and try to touch this skin/But it's just you breathing/ … Naked in the moonlight/The cool water never quite touches your soul" (though the balance of the song is about facing fears together, not sexual intimacy).

"Hold My Hand" ropes in an s-word to make its otherwise positive point about the importance of perseverance ("This is the burden I carry/And it goes back a hundred years/But all the s‑‑‑ I did/I am done with it").

"Closer to Me" tells something like a Bonnie and Clyde story: A criminal knows he's in trouble ("I'm smoking cigarettes in the Laundromat/ … I got a suitcase full of dirty cash/ … They've got a thousand bucks riding on my head"), but nevertheless asks a woman to join him on the lam ("I gotta know right now, baby, are you in?/ … Won't you come a little bit closer to me?").

Summary Advisory

In 2012 I characterized The Fray's third album, Scars & Stories, as a glass half-full/half-empty kind of affair. " I found myself sometimes wishing the watermark would inch up to three-quarters full," I wrote, " instead of always lingering at the half-way mark."

I finally got my wish. Helios is indeed closer to that three-quarters mark, proving to be the most emotionally upbeat album of any in The Fray's catalog. The band's steady, frequent emphasis on staying faithful to those we love and together working through our problems shines like an optimistic ray of sunshine through the melancholy fog. Arguably for the first time on a Fray album, it doesn't feel like ambiguity and hope are merely equals. Instead, it feels like hope finally has the upper hand.

Of course I still have to conclude with that remaining one-quarter: There are certainly still lyrics here that need to be carefully navigated (or avoided altogether). Most problematic are lustful fantasies on "Hurricane" and that irritating s-word on "Hold My Hand."

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!