X Ambassadors was recommended to me by a good friend who thought I should check them out as fast as I could - for that I am forever grateful. When VHS was released this summer, I couldn't get enough of it and for a long time, I didn't know how to describe them to other music lovers (although I was pretty much the last person to know about them).
VHS takes us through the journey of brothers Casey and Sam Harris, giving us intimate details of their personal lives with actual sound footage of it mixed throughout. The album starts off with their dad asking where they believe they will be in 2015 to which one of them responds "I will not be here" which takes listeners right into "Renegades," the album's first single, which is a song about their bond as brothers and taking on the (musical?) world. It's a perfect introduction to the heartfelt and sincerity of this album, which sets X Ambassadors apart from the crowd in that this album is their moment - and theirs only.
Throughout the album we are exposed to some of their childhood struggles such as their parents divorcing in "Unsteady" - a great song that really captures the helplessness of a child in this situation. I challenge every listener to not feel anything after they hear this song.
There's a little bit of everything for every listener on VHS: If you're looking for feel-good inspiring lyrics, look no further than "Hang On," "Superpower," "Feather,"; a cheesy anthem? "B.I.G." Feeling kind-of emo? Check out, "Nervous" and "Low Life"; Frisky? Listen to what needs to be the next single, "Gorgeous" and/or "Naked." In between almost every song is a little interlude with audio depicting important moments in their lives (i.e. first shows, listening to the first mixes of songs, smoking pot in a van - ya know, normal band stuff).
What's funny is that I could not for the life of me describe X Ambassadors until I noticed "Fear" a collaboration with Imagine Dragons. At that point I was like "Oh My God! X Ambassadors is like the new Imagine Dragons!!!!! . . . if Imagine Dragons had made a decent second album!" The song "Fear" isn't anything really special, and I don't really understand why a collaboration with such a similar sounding band would be considered a good idea on an otherwise stellar debut album. They (X Ambassadors) frankly don't need to do that and it almost messes up the narrative.
VHS is a pleasant surprise from a new band that will probably blow up soon. I'm excited to hear where they go from here. Hopefully not where Imagine Dragons tried to go.