Back in February of 2014, I happened to be at an Imagine Dragons concert at KeyArena in Seattle. One of the opening bands happened to be little known, Brooklyn-based, X Ambassadors. Sitting with Head Writer, Wyndi May, I turned to her and said, “We need to call Brandon (Lemonade Magazine’s editor) and get an interview with these guys right now! They will be headlining a tour within the next 12-18 months!” The next month, we had the pleasure of interviewing the lead singer, Sam Harris. You can read that interview here.
About 16 months after that concert, X Ambassadors, finally released their debut album, VHS. It is an amazing album that will be completely under the radar to start. Whether or not you know the band’s name, is not really relevant. They have taken the same, or at least a very similar, path as their good friends, Imagine Dragons, now arguably one of the biggest bands in the world. X Ambassadors did not push their singles on the radio every hour on the hour. No, their medium was television, more specifically, commercials.
One of their singles off the album, “Renegades,” is everywhere. Most will recognize it from the Jeep Renegade commercials, but it is more than just a background music. It is a beautifully constructed anthem with gritty lyrics and brilliant harmonies.
Another is “Jungle” with Jaime N Commons and Jay-Z, that was featured on an Beats Audio commercial released prior to the start of the 2014 World Cup. The song is a beast and was the ultimate track to get people to ‘Shazam’ it. Simple, deep percussion with powerful, catchy lyrics, balanced with a jagged, raw guitar riff made “Jungle” a force.
And most recently, after the United States won the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Vancouver, BC, Canada, Beat Audio released another commercial featuring star forward for the USA, Alex Morgan. This time it featured the song, “Superpower.” It is another dark, heavy anthem that does not let you forget who is in control.
But if you need something a little more upbeat and funky, look no further than “Naked.” It introduces itself with a saxophone solo that screams, uh, well, let’s just say it is a very adult activity. There are no hidden messages in the lyrics either.
VHS is an amazing debut album for breakout band that will be nothing short of superstars in 2015. X Ambassadors is that quiet superstar band that everyone knows, but can not places, but not for long. If you get a chance to see them in concert, I suggest you do, oh, and buy this album. Worth every penny!
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