I first discovered X Ambassadors back when there was no "X" in their name, when they were playing in small venues as the opening band, and when nobody knew who they were. People would always ask me who my favorite band was and I would just get a funny look and a response of "Who?"
Fast forward 2 years later, they have grown into a band that can easily hold their own. They added an "X" to their name because of other bands creating content under the name "Ambassadors." Personally, I like the "X" because it makes them stand out. You may recognize their music from TLC commercials, their song "Jungle," the official song of the World Cup last year, and the current Jeep Renegade commercial.
Video via YouTube
Little did I know 2 years ago how much this band would accomplish in such a short amount of time. However, these guys have been playing together since their youth, so their initial journey to stardom has been much longer than what the fans have experienced. In the time that I have been aware of their existence, they have released 3 EP's and most recently, their first full length album, VHS. I've also become a super fan with 6 (soon to be 7 or 8 depending on where they decide to tour for this album) XA concerts under my belt. I'm always the one in the very front dancing around and singing at the top of my lungs, even when I can hardly move because we are packed in the venue like sardines. Regardless, it has been amazing watching these guys from the front row gain popularity and hearing how their music evolved into what it is today.
As a super fan, I take pride in supporting these guys in whatever way I can, whether it be sharing their posts on social media, buying (actually purchasing) their music even though I pay for a premium account on Spotify, buying way too much merchandise, and going to as many of their concerts as my bank account will allow (or going to all the meet and greets and getting pictures together that we weren't ready for, like the one above). I pre-ordered VHS and found that the songs on pre-order are everything I hoped they would be. Then, I saw that XA was releasing their album on first play for a limited time, exactly a week before the album was scheduled to go live. I'll admit it; I listened to this album over 15 times all the way through before it even officially came out. So why is this album such a big deal?
Photo via Twitter
1. Long-awaited album
Long time Ambassadors and X Ambassadors fans will know that this is their very first full length album. The albums that they have previously released have only included about 6 songs each, called EP's (Extended Play). Though each EP had quality content, we, as the fans, craved more music from these guys. They are the kind of band that leaves you wanting more, simply because their music is that good.
2. A mix of everything
Ok, so maybe it is not a mix of everything, but it comes pretty close. The guys themselves have said that the strong R&B and hip hop influences that they grew up with definitely made its way into the sound of VHS. Additionally, when one listens to this amazing piece of work, you can still hear their ever-prevalent Indie and Alternative sound. For long time fans like me, this is vital. We are tired of hearing pop music that just repeats the same word over and over. We desire to have something original and new come to the scene. X Ambassadors' VHS is the solution.
3. Did someone say Imagine Dragons?
Yes. Imagine Dragons make an appearance on the album in a song called "Fear." You can definitely hear Imagine Dragons' influence on the song with its different sound and foot-stomping beat. The guys of Imagine Dragons are one of the reasons why XA has grown so much in such a short amount of time; think of Imagine Dragons as XA's big brother. It's a great partnership if you ask me.
4. Original and new idea
The album includes snippets of VHS home videos from the guys' childhood (hence the name) all the way up to their current lives. The recordings and songs tell the story of how a few guys and some instruments created one of the most enthusiastic and passionate bands out there.
I could probably go on and on about why this band deserves to be famous. But for now, do yourself a favor and support these guys. You won't regret it. Just you wait, I'll be the girl with the VIP tickets at their sold-out arena show saying, "I liked them before they were famous."
VHS will be released on June 30, 2015.