X Ambassadors began their run as a band in 2009, known then as simply Ambassadors. Hailing from Ithaca, N.Y., the band's line-up consists of brothers Sam Harris on lead vocals and multi-instrumentalist chores and Casey Harris on keyboards. Lead guitarist Noah Feldshuh and Adam Levin on drums fill out the group. Their early independent recordings included the songs "Litost" and "Unconsolable" which were standouts that put the group on listeners' radars and led to X Ambassadors being signed by major label Interscope Records. The band's soulful vocals and imaginative arrangements, as well as chanted chorus hooks, have proven to be a winning formula. Their song "Renegades" reached No. 17 on the charts and was certified platinum.
Here are 10 of the best known and best loved songs by X Ambassadors.
This is a track from the band's first full-length album release, VHS. It features crunchy distortion guitars and an interesting treatment on the mix of the lead vocal that begins a line with a clean sound, then switches to a heavily compressed effect. The tune also references superhero characters in its lyrics and is very driving rhythmically.
Lead vocalist, Sam Harris, delivers this tale of disillusionment with a great impassioned performance. The lyrics concern the intense ambivalence that is possible within a relationship and indeed in life in general. Heavy stuff, but also a great little pop/rock/soul tune.
This 2017 single release from X Ambassadors has an anthemic quality. It is mid-tempo and features a heavy arrangement that has a gospel feel as well. Backing vocals are prevalent and almost suggest the chanting of monks. This is a serious tune about keeping the faith.
7. "Low Life"
This track, originally on the VHS album, was written by Sam Harris, Brit singer/songwriter Jamie N Commons and producer Alex Da Kid. A newer version from the deluxe edition of the album also includes a contribution by rapper A$AP Ferg. The song is about doubt about one's self-worth and it has a strong hip-hop element.
This is a largely piano-driven ballad and was featured On MTV's "The Shannara Chronicles." The intensity builds to a climax with a mixture of sounds and effects that breakthrough the rather bleak mood of the track.
This was the title track off the band's first album release in 2012 as Ambassadors. It is atmospheric, string-laden and haunting. An acoustic guitar accompanies Harris' longing vocals while an orchestral overlay adds to the drama. Litost is a Czech word for a particular type of misery.
Sam Harris wrote this song for R&B/pop superstar Rihanna. It features a prominent acoustic guitar backing that gives way to a complex arrangement of keyboards, chanted backing vocals and driving percussion. It is a tale of experiencing the American Dream and the vocals by Harris are executed with a contagiously spirited vibe that makes the track both highly commercial and something more significant.
This is a song from The band's 2013 EP, Love Songs Drug Songs. It is dominated by a very active rhythm track and also has a strong melody coupled with often abstract and imaginative lyrics which make it a unique tune. This was an early Ambassadors era song and was included on the 2012 soundtrack for the video game "Need For Speed: Most Wanted."
This was the third single from the VHS album and was written by the members of the band plus producer Alex Da Kid (Alexander Grant). It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart. Sam Harris's voice slips in and out of falsetto mode frequently during this track to great effect. The song is a plea for support in a time of personal insecurity.
Probably X Ambassadors' best known track, this song was used by Jeep in its commercial spots for the vehicle of the same name. It is infectious and incorporates a number of the band's signature elements: chant-like backing vocals, strong melody, unique lyrical content and an anthemic vibe. It was a No. 1 single on Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart and number 17 on their Hot 100 chart. It was also nominated for the 2016 Billboard Music Awards Top Rock Song.