I never thought I’d review an Ozzy Osbourne album. Probably not an ideal way to start a review especially if I want to draw you, the reader, in but who rails against transparency?
I was never a huge fan of the man though I have enjoyed a number of his songs through his career. Never owned an album nor can I say I have fully listened to any Ozzy Osbourne record from beginning to end. Though, I probably have by default as I am sure my brother raged Blizzard of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman through his bedroom speakers more than once back in the day.
I bought tickets to his No More Tours 2 tour which got postponed a year ago. And, as you probably heard, last week finally cancelled. Sadly, I don’t hold out much hope I will see Ozzy Osbourne live. At 71 with Parkinson’s Disease, Mr. Osbourne will probably sooner than later realize touring life has ended much like Neil Diamond did after his Parkinson’s diagnosis. Thankfully that doesn’t mean recording life has to end and based on Ozzy Osbourne’s 12th album Ordinary Man (out Feb. 21) his first record of new material in 10 years – he has no reason to give up making new music…so long as he dumps Post Malone as a collaborator.
The 11-song Ordinary Man features a number of contributors including guitarist Andrew Watt who fully shines on this album, bassist Duff McKagen and guitarist Slash of Guns N’ Roses, drummer Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Elton John.
Review of Ordinary Man
Straight to Hell – One of the first singles released and for good reason. Classic Ozzy Osbourne.
All My Life – Wow, pretty contemplative from Ozzy. Starts slow, emotional and ends on a hard rock high note. You don’t even have to like Ozzy Osbourne or his music to fully relate to this song.
Goodbye – Hard and heavy. Reminiscent of “Mr. Crowley” before it rolls the throttle into a melodious hard rock jam before applying the brakes back to the start. Then repeat. Good song!
Ordinary Man – Ozzy Osbourne and Elton John. Wow, who would have thought? And who would have thought these two together would really work? Two aging, long time singers from far different genres of music team for a look back on life. Our classic rockers are getting old and they know it, too. If you call the 1980s home, this ballad will affect you a bit.
Under the Graveyard – I checked. “Under the Graveyard” is the first Ozzy song with “graveyard” in the title. Shocking, I know. The Andrew Watt guitar solo absolutely rips. Ozzy Osbourne at his finest.
Eat Me – You can’t get more Ozzy than this. Hard, heavy and in your face musically and lyrically. Somewhere a bat winces…
Today is the End – About as pop metal as Ozzy gets. It’s a good sound for him. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Scary Little Green Men – A great rock song full of Ozzy, melodious guitar and a most welcome pace that picks moves the album along.
Holy for Tonight – Is Ozzy trying to make things right with God? A slow track without much melody. This is Ozzy trying to do something different but it probably only resonates with him.
It’s a Raid – Hey, he might be getting old by Ozzy has a young rocker’s heart. Teaming up with Post Malone, Ozzy turns “It’s a Raid” into a fast paced punk song that has all sorts of screaming, a bunch of needless swearing and it kind of falls a part in the middle but the pace sure is fun.
Take What You Want – Another Post Malone collaboration along with rapper Travis Scott. I was ready to skip past this when I found out who Scott is but the beginning pulled me in, then Scott started. I didn’t skip past it. I managed to the end. I’m pretty sure Ozzy purists will be a bit disappointed and this attempt at reaching a younger generation – thoroughly clueless about Ozzy Osbourne – as a way to extend his legacy will fall quite a bit short.
Admittedly, I have a limited history with Ozzy Osbourne music but Ordinary Man offers an array of songs from traditional heavy metal to reflective and rather emotional takes that recognize the shortness of life but a not wanting to accept time no longer works in Ozzy’s favor. No, Ozzy Osbourne doesn’t sound like a man ready to call it a career but all the same he seems to understand the inevitable.
At least that’s my take.
Overall, on Ordinary Man, Ozzy Osbourne sounds little different than he did 30 years ago when he released his debut solo album Blizzard of Ozz. Does he have some vocal manipulation help? Probably, and if so, not much and Ordinary Man fully retains the classic Ozzy tone.
With the exception of the final two songs, I enjoyed Ordinary Man and if Ozzy somehow figures out a health treatment that gets him back on the road, more than a handful of songs off Ordinary Man better make the live cut. With so many big acts taking up residencies in Las Vegas, perhaps Ozzy needs to recognize fans will come to him instead of him coming to the fans.
Grade: B (Dump the last two songs I might give an A-)
Ozzy Osbourne Ordinary Man Track Listing
1. Straight to Hell
2. All My Life
4. Ordinary Man
5. Under the Graveyard
6. Eat Me
7. Today is the End
8. Scary Little Green Men
9. Holy for Tonight
10. It’s a Raid
11. Take What You Want