The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper

Arts and Entertainment

Under the Radar: X Lovers

By Staff Writer Helen Tian

As children, London Jackson and Jacob Ames shared dreams to be the biggest artists on the planet. Today, their indie-pop duo X Lovers is emerging as the vision they saw for themselves, pushing the boundaries of music and experimenting with autotune distortions, high falsettos, and punk riffs.

Heavily influenced by Green Day and Kanye West, Jackson and Ames kickstarted their music careers at the young age of ten with their punk band, Opposition. The duo would play anywhere that would take them, from holding house shows to impromptu street performances. 

In order to introduce themselves to the hyper-competitive music industry and build an extreme work ethic, Jackson and Ames moved to Los Angeles at 18 years old and officially debuted as an electronic indie-pop band, X Lovers.

London Jackson and Jacob Ames have been best friends since 5th grade.

Since then, the duo has released ten singles on Visionary Records/RCA Records and two extended plays (EP) — the latest of which is their 2020 EP, Mad World.

In spite of being labeled as an electronic indie-pop band, X Lovers doesn’t seem to fit in any specific genre when it comes to songwriting and producing, which is the most fascinating aspect when it comes to describing their music. 

Their music ranges from strong sound manipulation to softly flowing melodies. Their single “Colder When It Rains” features a heavily distorted opening before giving way to longing falsetto vocals, only to return to a punk-inspired riff. Meanwhile, “Haunt You (feat. chloe moriondo),” their most popular out of ten singles on Spotify, launches into a haunting track with gentle backing vocals to tell the story of losing loved ones.

Watch the music video for  “Haunt You (feat. chloe moriondo)” above.

Despite the catchy tunes seemingly revolving around love and romance, X Lovers’ music holds Jackson’s and Ames’s thoughts on current society. In their EP Mad World, the song “intro – it’s a dream we’ve been livin’ in” hits with high autotuned notes before fading into a monologue, discussing the euphoric feeling of falling in love. However, immediately after, “Mad World” follows the dark reality of societal pressure and anxiety while beating to a rhythmic backing track. The distinct juxtapositions between their songs, whether it be through production or lyrics, reflect the chaotic state of the world — the album’s ups and downs mirror not only the joy, but also the fear and intensity that comes with being a young person. 

Outside of producing music, X Lovers often posts song covers and vlogs on their YouTube channel to provide their fanbase, known as the “saints,” with their personal thoughts and inner turmoils. Having been very open about their struggles, both as artists and as normal people, through their music and social media presence, Ames said, “We want to use [our] projects as a vessel to fight for what we believe in, whether it’s fighting for the environment [or] fighting for equality.”


Stream “Mad World” now. 

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