Television, films, and video games have been good to X Ambassadors, as their powerful single “Renegades” is used commercially for the Jeep Renegade and many of their other tracks have also been incorporated into multiple projects. For example, many people might recognize X Ambassadors because of their single “Jungle” (from their album VHS) which was featured in “The Game Before the Game,” a 2014 World Cup commercial from Beats By Dre. But then again, they may be familiar with the track because of the numerous other television and film slots it has had, including credits for Hercules, a WWE commercial, a clip used in The Blacklist, and the promotional trailers for Orange is the New Black and Pitch Perfect 2. Others might recognize their track “Unconsolable” (from their 2013 EP Love Songs Drug Songs) from the video game Need for Speed: Most Wanted. X Ambassadors’ single “Renegades,” from their album VHS (which is to be released at the end of June) may be the best combination of sounds that I’ve heard in a while.
Retaining their ability for diversification, “Renegades” offers what “Jungle” and “Unconsolable” do not. Where “Jungle” delivers a heavy beat and charged vocals throughout the entirety of the song, and “Unconsolable” experiments with both instrumentation and the vocals, one intertwining with the other, “Renegades” is a simpler song in sound. Yet the story of “Renegades” is similar to that of “Unconsolable.”
“I hope we stay / Thick as thieves / Butter and bread,” they sing in “Unconsolable,” a song that practically drips with sentiment in the first verse. Familiar themes are explored in the first verse of “Renegades”—“Run away with me / Lost souls in revelry / Running wild and running free / Two kids, you and me.” However, despite the similarity in lyrics, X Ambassadors manage to create a completely different sound. Where “Unconsolable” involves more lilting and crooning, “Renegades” is steady and sure.
Regardless of how you’ve come to know X Ambassadors, know this: with their eclectic style, beautifully blended vocals, and marvelous melodies, X Ambassador’s album, VHS, is well worth the wait. And while you’re waiting, play “Renegades” on repeat, because their vocals are on par with the best of One Republic, their instrumentation has the ability to be as powerful as that which we hear from Hozier, and their lyrics, as the song comes to an end, are practically a call to action: “It’s our time to make a move / It’s our time to make amends / It’s our time to break the rules / Let’s begin…”