Bob Vylan – Humble As The Sun

An inspiring, joyous return...

Some people woke up today and chose violence. Not Bob Vylan

“No violence today” they rap on new record, ‘Humble As The Sun’. Bob Vylan have changed their approach to activism with this new record. Don’t get me wrong, the duo are still angry and saying what others are afraid to say. But this new album is there to inspire happiness from within as well as sparking anger on the outside. With tasteful moments of rest bite and an enigmatic aura surrounding this approach, this album is less “kill the fuckin’ Queen” as they explored on ‘England’s Ending’, and more “You are loved / You are not alone”. Less shouting is involved in this release, but they are still here to be heard. With a MOBO Award under their belt and an ability to charm anyone within their presence, this is not the time for Bob Vylan to become ‘humble’. And by the looks of it, they don’t intend on taking that route…

“If we wish to see a revolution, then that revolt has to start within ourself before it is a wider change” the band told Clash in a recent interview. And that is exactly what the guys are going for on their new album. Looking inwards to ignite change, Humble as the Sun couldn’t have come at a more poignant time. Littered with affirmations – “You are more than your take home pay”, “You are more than your ability to learn”, “You are here you are now” – ‘Humble as the Sun’ is the album we need at times like this. But, serious messages aside, the guys still find space for comedy within this record. “Bob Vylan got robbed for the Mercury,” they spit over repetitious beats on ‘Reign’. “The G-Spot don’t exist mate, that’s just feminist propaganda” they say on ‘He’s A Man’. As if Bob Vylan couldn’t have become any more endearing, their humour flows through the record providing moments of relief in between the hard-hitting messages.

Kicking off the album with a soulful alternative ‘Humble as the Sun ft. Jerub’, don’t let yourself be fooled you into thinking Bob Vylan have any intention of slowing down their pace. Releasing previous albums that could have easily soundtracked your next riot, Humble as the Sun has a more varied approach to its melodies and tempo. Is this musical maturity or is this the product of two guys who are constantly learning as they evolve? Bob Vylan are extremely aware of their surroundings, they know what they believe, and their passion inevitably comes through in everything they do- this album included.

The beauty of Bob Vylan is in their vulnerability and intention. There’s beauty found within artists using their platform to speak unapologetically about topics that needs to be said. Yes, some of them may be hard to hear, but Bob Vylan are saying what others are scared to. The resulting record leaves the listener feeling power alongside their anger, and brings a fresh and compelling blend of punk, rock, grime and rap together in an experimental way. But regardless of the change in tempos, it’s no secret that Bob Vylan are still pissed off. They are pissed off at the price of life, poverty, and toxic masculinity. And the duo aren’t afraid to say what needs to be said in a way that determined to rile you up as well.

There are continuations from previous records – something the band claimed in Clash’s interview wasn’t intentional – but it shows that the guys are still having to preach the same messages. Going from ‘We Live Here’ to new track ‘I’m Still Here’, this album is living proof that Bob Vylan are in fact still here and won’t be leaving us anytime soon. Bob Vylan are direct, something that is severely lacking in mainstream music. With a confidence to say what needs to be said, more bands should be like Bob Vylan.

In this day and age, the world will benefit from us being unhappy. Whether that be unhappy with our body image, unhappy on TV, or unhappy with our jobs. Unhappy people are compliant people. Bob Vylan are challenging this on ‘Humble as the Sun’. “The worst days of our lives will provide great entertainment” they say on ‘Hunger Games’. Refusing to be humble themselves, they are inspiring others to stand tall, stand proud and stand up for what we believe in. From finding inner peace and inner happiness, it will put us in a better position to fight back- something that Bob Vylan are proud to preach.

Bob Vylan are an inspiration to anyone fortunate enough to listen to their music and ‘Humble as the Sun’ couldn’t have come at a more important time. Listen to their affirmations, listen to their words: “You are more than your take home pay / You are more than your ability to earn / You are more than your future successes / You are here, You are now… Do not live everyday as if it is your last / Live every day is if it is your first”. Bob Vylan are here to make long-lasting change, and you are their army’s newest recruit.


Words: Jazz Hodge

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.