“Renegades” by ONE OK ROCK

We all have a general idea what a ‘renegade’ is defined as – someone who rebels against the system of things and acts accordingly. And that is also how the vocalist is presenting himself and likeminded individuals in this song. 

However, he doesn’t mean ‘renegade’ in the sense of being some type of badass or criminal. Rather as illustrated at the beginning of the song, this expression is premised on there being ‘a fire in (his) soul’ which cannot be quenched. Or more to the point, the system, as it currently stands, isn’t even interested in acknowledging or entertaining this vigor, as we will term it for the time being. 

And again, this is a reality that he is not only dealing with but his entire generation, whom he classifies as being “forgotten”.

The Implication

So the implication in these expressions is that the vocalist’s discontent, his “renegade” spirit so to speak, is due to the aforementioned neglect.

So going back to the “fire” within, the reason his generation cannot express themselves, let this fire out if you will, is due to the nature of the system they live under. And the way the situation is explained in the third verse is as a matter of conformity. 

That is to say that the powers that be are requiring that free-minded individuals such as these ‘change their voices’ rather following their own intuitions. And in general they are “holding… down”, i.e. subjugating, these renegades. 

Part of the reason they are doing so is because the younger generation are “underestimated”. So the way the beef at hand reads is basically as a case of leaders not respecting the true will and ambition of the youngsters of the land.

An Oppressive Government/Authority

Or put more simply, this is one of those types of songs where the government is fundamentally being depicted as oppressive. But it is not in the sense of bullying people directly. It’s more like the system itself is antiquated, which is why it doesn’t regard the will of the youth. 

Moreover it doesn’t really believe in them like that anyway. Or let’s put forth that from an individualistic standpoint, what the vocalist is saying is that if you have a big or countercultural dream, you shouldn’t expect encouragement from established authority figures. 

And whereas we may have described such entities as the government, it is very much plausible that he is also speaking of parents and all of such individuals/systems as far as the older generations go.

So affected individuals, like One OK Rock, who don’t want to accept situations like this would be the titular “renegades”. Or at least they are so ideologically. For as expressed in the chorus, they are not afraid to confront the system head on. And they are encouraging others to join the cause also.

In Conclusion

And no, this is not a song advocating revolution or anything like that. From the beginning, the singer lets it be known that he actually has ‘love for his home’. But as for the system it is operating under, he wouldn’t mind ‘tearing it down and building it up again’. 

Or explained more directly, he wants the beliefs of the younger generation to be heard. He wants their beliefs to be taken seriously and even institutionalized. But sadly, it is beyond apparent that as things stand now, there is very little prospect of that actually transpiring.

So again, we can conclude by saying that this is more of an ideological song than anything else. Chances are the system that is currently extant will remain so, i.e. rigid. And by stating that “we could be renegades”, the lyrics are more symbolic of the vocalist’s vision than anything else. 

It wouldn’t be as if he is out organizing a group of actual “renegades”. But at the same time it is pretty obvious that he, as well as his ilk, have serious issues with the establishment. And that is because they feel as if leaders are so caught up in their own, shall we say antiquated agendas that they are not entertaining those of the younger generation, who think differently.


Release of “Renegades”

This track was released on 16 April 2021, as a standalone single, via Fueled by Ramen and the Warner Music Group. And for those who don’t know, One OK Rock is a band from Japan. They have been on the scene since 2005.

As of the release of this track and since 2006, the group’s membership consists of the following:

  • frontman Takahiro Moriuchi
  • bassist Ryota Kohama
  • drummer Tomoya Kanki
  • guitarist Toru Yamashita 

And for the record, since this song is based on an age-related theme, the members of the group as mentioned above are respectively 32, 31, 33 and 32 years of age. 


One Ok Rock

And up until this point, One OK Rock has amassed a massive discography, highlighted by 12 studio albums. And they have proven especially successful in their homeland. But one of their albums, 2017’s “Ambitions” (English Version), did make it onto the Billboard 200 and peaked at number 2 on Billboard’s Top Hard Rock Albums chart.

“Renegades” Writing Credits

The aforementioned Takahiro Moriuchi contributed to the composition of this song. He did so alongside the following:

  • Jin Jin
  • Adam Hawkins
  • Masato Hayakawa
  • David Pramik

But the most-popular name on the list of authors would be Ed Sheeran, one of the most-successful contemporary singer/songwriters from the UK. And he actually became associated with One OK Rock as they opened for him when he toured Asia in 2019.

The producers of this track are Jamil Kazami, Rhys May and Kyle Moorman.


Renegades is the theme song to a 2021 Japanese movie entitled “Rurouni Kenshin: The Final”. It was directed by Keishi Ōtomo and stars:

  • Mackenyu
  • Emi Takei
  • Takeru Satoh

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