OZZY OZBOURNE - Ordinary Man (Album Review)

OZZY OZBOURNE – Ordinary Man

In this very non-ordinary world comes the twelfth studio album from the Prince of Darkness himself, Mr. Ozzy Ozbourne! Ordinary Man was released back in February and according to Wikipedia it has “received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics”. This revelation prompts two very important questions.

First, are these “contemporary music critics” even hard rock/heavy metal fans? Serious question here. Do they know the legendary history of the madman known as Ozzy? His history with heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath? His absolute masterpiece debut solo album, Blizzard Of Ozz?

The other question I ponder. Are these “contemporary music critics” high or maybe just deaf?

With the world on pandemic shutdown, I have finally found the time to get caught up on some serious music listening. Serious, uninterrupted listening. I took a very long “social distanced” walk yesterday and dove headfirst into Ordinary Man. Let me first say that the production of this album is absolutely HORRENDOUS!

Ordinary Man Production

Producers of the modern world listen up. Turn your shit down! We all have volume controls for personal volume levels. Let us decide how loud things should be. This album is produced so loud, there is virtually zero dynamic range coming through the speakers. It’s a blasting wall of distorted muddy noise. I literally spent 5 minutes playing with the EQ in a futile effort to find levels that were even acceptable.

I guess I should preface the review with the following. Like most metalheads I love Ozzy. As part of Black Sabbath, he pioneered the entire metal genre. When he departed ways with Sabbath, he surrounded himself with an amazing band of musicians and songwriters and released the gold standard of his entire career, Blizzard Of Ozz.

As a fan, I absolutely love the first six Ozzy solo records but let’s be honest here. Ozzy hasn’t released a truly great solo record since 1991’s No More Tears. Although I personally enjoyed much of 2007’s Black Rain album his more recent releases have been unfortunately forgettable. “Unfortunately” being the keyword there as I really WANT to love a new Ozzy album.

Ordinary Man – The Good…

There are a couple of good moments on the album. Make that two and a half. Prior to the album’s release, I did hear the single “Under The Graveyard” and my expectations went up. A solid Ozzy song and with a good hook and certainly better than anything off of Scream.

“Goodbye” is another track that I took to. The melody in the verse struck me as familiar and it took me a while but I finally figured it out. Go check out Blue Murder‘s song “Blue Murder” and the mystery was solved. I highly doubt this was intentional but the melody line is very similar (albeit slowed down).

Surprisingly I really enjoyed the title track and duet with Sir Elton John. I have always loved Ozzy‘s ballads. There is something sincere and relatable when he slows things down. From Sabbath‘s “Changes” to “So Tired” to “Mama (I’m Coming Home)”, Ozzy has a way of connecting. “Ordinary Man” follows this trend and is a highlight on the record.

The Bad…

The rest of this album falls mostly into the “forgettable” pile. The songs fail to grab my attention in any way. They lack hooks, they lack memorable guitar solos (Remember Randy? Remember Jake? Remember Zakk?) and they lack the fire that made classic Ozzy albums classic!

A huge part of the problem is once again the horrible sonic production of the listening experience. It’s so distorted that you can’t even distinguish between the instruments. It actually distracts you from the music within.

And The Ugly…

What could be worse than the aforementioned horrible production? “Take What You Want”! In a pathetic attempt to try and make Ozzy relevant with the youth, some genius (I understand it was Kelly Osbourne‘s idea) decided to introduce Post Malone and then somehow Travi$ Scott into the story. The song “Take What You Want” just may be the worst steaming piece of elephant shit that Ozzy has ever released. Worse than “Perry Mason”!

Ozzy does not need to be relevant to teenagers. He is the Prince Of Darkness for God’s sake, not some “pet project” to add street cred for some pathetic rappers. Music should be like candy, you throw out the rappers.

After listening to this album I did two things. First I went back and listened to Blizzard Of Ozz. What a difference in sound quality! You can hear every instrument so clearly and the energy is just incredible. An amazing and focused band delivering the goods for Ozzy.

I then went back and listened to 13, the last Black Sabbath record released in 2013! Again you have an amazing and focused band delivering the goods for Ozzy! I forgot how great this record is. Not Sabbath‘s best but every track on it buries the best on Ordinary Man.

In closing, I have to wonder if those “contemporary music critics”, the ones that positively reviewed this actually own any of his earlier albums. It’s beyond compare and sad that Post Malone will be forever linked to what is most likely going to be Ozzy‘s last record.

BUY: AMAZON.ca / AMAZON.com / AMAZON.co.uk


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