Written by Alex Stojanovic
Straight To Hell
All My Life
Under The Graveyard
Today Is The End
Scary Little Green Men
Holy For Tonight
It's A Raid (feat. Post Malone)
Take What You Want (Post Malone feat. Ozzy and Travis Scott)
Release Date: February 21, 2020
Label: Epic Records
Ozzy Osbourne - Vocals / Andrew Watt - Guitars & keyboards / Duff McKagan - Bass / Chad Smith - Drums
I personally can't believe that Ozzy is still wanting to go out and do touring when he is battling all these health issues. He was supposed to go out and do a European tour with Judas Priest supporting at the beginning of 2019, but due to a fall at his home, the tour was postponed to the fall of 2019. He was also supposed to go out and tour North America in the summer of 2019 with Megadeth supporting, but then that got postponed. Both tours were postponed to the summer and fall of 2020. As of this moment, the North American tour was cancelled yet once again. I guess it was also timed just right before the Coronavirus epidemic became a pandemic. The European tour in the fall however, is still on, according to Ozzy's website. With the way things sit right now, I'll bet you anything that he's also going to cancel or postpone the European tour for a third time, just watch. Even if these shows do come off, I have no idea what kind of performance the people are going to get from him.
I feel bad for Ozzy and his family. The man is an icon, and one of the founding fathers of metal, but you need to ask yourself if this is how you want to do your final years as a musician. It goes without saying that if you're going to retire, and with the amount of money you're charging for tickets on your farewell tour, people are going to want a show where you are absolutely on top of your game, and you want to go out with what people say was one of the best shows they've ever seen from you, as opposed to you going on tour with wheels falling off, and embarrassing yourself. For Ozzy, the wheels are clearly falling off. This was a guy that was retiring back in 1992 (when I was born). I've only seen Ozzy live one time with Black Sabbath, and honestly, that was enough for me. The only thing that matters right now, is that he gets well. I have no problem if Ozzy still wants to make music and release albums, but I feel he really needs to quit playing live, except for maybe the odd TV performance. Anyways, I digress.
Let's get into the album. The strangest thing about this album is that it doesn't feature Zakk Wylde on guitar because he's back with Ozzy now. The one thing about the album that certainly didn't put a lot of excitement in me was the fact that the entire thing was written and recorded in just four days. Albums that are written and recorded that quickly usually has mediocre results. We already reviewed the first two singles: "Under The Graveyard" and "Straight To Hell". Certain songs have a big Black Sabbath feel, where the riffs sound like something that Tony Iommi would play. A couple of examples of this are "Goodbye" and "Eat Me". When you hear the opening quarter note kick drum/floor tom beat in "Eat Me", the very first thing that immediately popped into my head was "Iron Man". "Today Is The End" is a really powerful song. If Ozzy does get around to doing a "true" farewell show, and he performs this song, there will be people sobbing in the audience. It would also be a fitting song to play on the P.A. after the last notes are played, and he is blowing kisses and thanking the audience sincerely for the decades of support.
There's a good balance between ballads and rockers. One of the better soft songs is the title track, which is a duet with Elton John. The track gets you in the feels when you hear the lyrics. The guitar solos from Slash speak for themselves. It's quite obvious that Ozzy is using auto-tune on the album, because like I mentioned in the "Straight To Hell" review, he's singing high, but in a live setting, there is no way in hell that he will be able to hit those high notes on the record, because his ability to do so is not there anymore. Live performances are meant to be kept 100% natural, especially in the vocal department.
The songs that have gotten the most mixed reactions are the last two songs: "It's A Raid" and "Take What You Want", mainly due to the fact that they feature Post Malone. The latter is a Post Malone song that Ozzy guested on, but I guess they agreed over Ozzy featuring the song on his album. I have a feeling that the former was written as more of a fun song as opposed to a serious song. I will admit that the story behind the song that Ozzy shared was pretty hilarious, which originated from when Black Sabbath was recording Vol. 4. It's the fastest song on the album, and it's god a big punk rock / Motorhead vibe. We all know Post Malone is a huge rocker, and he exposes his audience to rock and metal, which is great, but for many fans, the idea of collaborating with Post Malone is viewed as somewhat controversial.
Many people feel that Ordinary Man is Ozzy's best album in years, but it doesn't hit me that way. It's pretty underwhelming when you compare it to albums like Black Rain and Down To Earth, and even Scream. That's mainly due to the use of auto-tune, and the fact that it was put together in a hurry. Ozzy has already revealed that he plans on doing another album with Andrew Watt producing. My only wish is that Ozzy would get his live band: Zakk, Tommy Cluefetos, Adam Wakeman and Blasko, to record the album as opposed to having tons of people on the album like on this one, and take his time with it. Other than that, we all ask Ozzy to please take care of himself, and we hope gets better soon.
Highs: "Straight To Hell", "Ordinary Man" and "Today Is The End".
Lows: The auto-tune, and the really quick writing and recording session resulted in an rather underwhelming album.
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