X Ambassadors’ “Renegades” Lyrics Meaning

The lyrics of “Renegades” commence sort of like a love song, one of those types in which the vocalist is trying to convince the addressee to “run away” with him, to a place where they can ‘run wild and free’. 

But as the track progresses, it becomes more apparent that what Sam is alluding to by idealizing a life “living like we’re renegades” is something more along the lines of youth rebelliousness. 

Also, said rebellion would not be of the violent-revolutionary type. Instead, he appears to be speaking more to the concept of making a power-move towards living a life with “no fear” and of creatively contributing to the world. The singer goes on to cite legendary filmographers Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick being held up as examples of individuals who actually achieved that standard.

Or in resorting to Sam Harris’s own explanation, what the thesis sentiment of this track is intended to center on is the concept of not giving up, even at times when obstacles seem insurmountable in the pursuit of your goals. And as an example of such perseverance he used his own brother, Casey Harris, who is the X Ambassadors’ pianist and also, by the way, happens to be blind.

In Conclusion

We can conclude by saying that the chorus of this song, if taken on its own, reads as if maybe it is espousing countercultural or even illegal behavior. But once you also take into account the verses (as well as the above explanation), it becomes clearer what this song means. Simply put, the type of renegading the X Ambassadors are singing about is akin to someone being brave enough to pursue their calling and then remaining on that path no matter what.

Lyrics to X Ambassadors' "Renegades"

Facts about “Renegades”

X Ambassadors are a band of pop rockers from Ithaca, a city found in Upstate New York. They experienced a brief moment in the sun during which two songs from their debut LP, “VHS”, managed to go multi-platinum. The singles in question were “Unsteady” and “Renegades”.

The latter of was released as the project’s lead single on 3 March 2015.

At the time, X Ambassadors were a quartet. But since then, guitarist Russ Flynn has gone on hiatus. However, the other members of the crew are still holding down the brand to this day. They are:

  • Sam Nelson Harris (singer)
  • Casey Harris (pianist)
  • Adam Levin (drummer)

It is those four individuals who are credited with writing “Renegades” alongside its producer, Alex da Kid. 

To note, whereas Sam and Alex in particular were already working on this song, the finished product, at the behest of Interscope Records, was created for the specific purpose of marketing the Jeep Renegade, which is a type of SUV. 

The other labels that backed this track are Geffen Records and KidinaKorner.

As alluded to earlier, this track was a major hit. For example, it bested the following Billboard’s listings:

  • Adult Top 40
  • Hot Rock & Alternative Songs 
  • Rock Airplay  

The tune was also a major hit in Canada, where it topped three other Billboard charts.  Additionally it peaked at number 17 on the US Hot 100. 

Furthermore, besides going quadruple-platinum in the US (as of 2021), this song has also been certified septuple-platinum up north. 

Lastly to note, “Renegades” was ranked the top song of the entirety of 2015 as far as Billboard’s US Rock Airplay ranking is concerned.


The “VHS” Album

X Ambassadors, released “VHS” on the 30th of June, 2015 as their debut studio album.

“VHS” was produced by X Ambassadors themselves with assistance from British fashion icon, record producer and executive, Alex da Kid. The album was jointly released through the following record labels:

  • KidinaKorner (established by Alex da Kid)
  • Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records

“VHS” was a commercially successful album. It quickly landed on the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at No. 7. It ranked 41 on the UK’s OCC and was No. 2 in Canada.

“VHS” has been certified platinum and 2x platinum by the RIAA in the US and Canada’s Music Canada respectively. In Poland, the ZPAV has issued it with a gold certification.

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