It has been fifty years since the world was introduced to Ozzy Osbourne and forty-one since he left the metal band Black Sabbath to pursue a solo career. All these years later, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Darkness” returns with an album at the young age of seventy-one and his first in a decade. While Ordinary Man proves that greatness has no age and is full of exhilarating songs, the album lacks coherence and the “filler” songs that the album has detracts it from being an otherwise superb product.
Dating back to his days with Black Sabbath, Ozzy has recorded songs with unconventional and dark lyrics. This album is a continuation of that, as the songs have lyrics of the supernatural, death, drug abuse, and ultimately regret. What makes this album different though is that Ozzy reflects on his life throughout the songs and this was spurred by a series of health scares that he has had the previous year.
The album opens up with “Straight to Hell”, an anti-drug song that features Slash from Guns N’ Roses as the lead guitarist. The guitar riffs steal the show in addition to the seemingly ageless voice of Ozzy. “Under the Graveyard” with Duff McKagan also follows suit to “Straight to Hell” with this structure. “Ordinary Man” features Elton John on the piano and as a backing vocalist. The song is soft, and it sounds more like a song that is in Elton John’s musical palate than Ozzy’s, but it is nonetheless a beautifully done single.
Ozzy recorded the songs in a frantic duration of four days. He chose to stop recording once he attained a minimum of ten songs to put on that album, and this was not wise, as the worst songs are certainly forgettable. His collaboration with Post Malone, “Take What You Want”, is an attempt to appeal to a new generation but it taints the album more than any other “filler” song. It is not an Ozzy song, as he plays second fiddle to Post Malone. A rap song on a metal album is not something that Ozzy fans want to hear, and they certainly didn’t ask for it either.
However, “It’s a Raid”, which also features Post Malone, is a victory. It pays homage to the punk era with the rapid drumming throughout and the fast pace. This is arguably the most complicated song on the album from a musical standpoint.
Other songs such as “Scary Little Green Men” and “Eat Me” have rather eye-popping lyrics and they are representative of the cult figure that is Ozzy Osbourne, but the musical quality is lacking. Just in case you have never seen a sci-fi movie, spaceship noises and the stereotypical robotic, high pitched alien noises are put into “Scary Little Green Men”. Save three minutes of your life and skip the song.
Ordinary Man was a mixed bag skewing to the positive side, with the best songs being deserving of a spot on an Ozzy compilation album while the worst songs were deserving of a spot in the garbage. But if this is truly the last album of Ozzy Osbourne, he went out on a mostly high note and his longevity within the metal genre that he created remains unmatched.