Ozzy’s reputation has been well earned – not just as a kick-ass metal God, but also as a whacked-out, drugged up, drunken hell raiser that went through a large portion of his life not knowing who or where he was.
We’ve rocked with him, we’ve laughed with him, we’ve laughed at him but until now – until the release of this new album, Ordinary Man, I’m not sure we’ve ever been able to fully appreciate his dark and quite honestly incredibly disturbing journey.
With Ordinary Man Ozzy bears his soul. At 71 years of age, he seems to have become aware of his mistakes, how he has become a bit of a parody of his persona and most importantly – has come to terms with his mortality.
On many levels – Ordinary Man is a very dark album, if you choose to see it that way – I do not. I find it more of a celebration of a life lived by someone who has fought his demons in a public forum – and in the seventh decade of his existence has managed to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and discovered that the puzzle is actually a priceless piece of art.
Let me not mince words here – Ordinary Man in an exceptional album – for me personally, his best since Blizzard Of Oz. Eleven tracks – each one better than the last. Ozzy’s voice sounds the best it has in years. He was laser-focused for these recording sessions – you can tell – they are as close to perfect as I can imagine Ozzy getting. He has backed himself with a stellar line up of artists. Slash, Duff McKagen, Chad Smith, Elton John, Post Malone, and Tom Morello all make appearances.
Andrew Watt is a driving force behind this record as well. His hand is in just about every aspect of this production – he plays guitars, keyboards, bass, handled production – hell, he even did photography – talk about being hands-on. Have to say though – I like the dude’s style.
Song wise – we get a very eclectic mix of styles and tones. As I mentioned above, there is no denying that this is very much a “coming to terms with one’s eventual demise” vibe to a lot of the tracks. Actually, the first half of the album pretty much makes up that segment – Straight to Hell, All My Life, Goodbye, Ordinary Man – an exceptional duet with Elton John, and Under The Graveyard, all tell the tale of a man who has lived, made mistakes, is leaving behind regrets but ultimately wants to be remembered for the fact that although it may have taken him a while – has finally figured it out. Heavy shit but – kind of heart-warming in an F’d up kind of way.
For the second half of the album – with all that heavy stuff out of the way – Ozzy just kind of lets er rip and has some fun. The next track – Eat Me – starts off with some bluesy harmonica, a driving bassline and then spirals into an open commentary on serving himself up for his fans to feast on. Today Is The End, Little Green Men, and Holy For Tonight round out a tight little set of tunes.
The album ends with a pair of duets with Post Malone – It’s A Raid and his earlier collaboration with Malone, Take What You Want.
Overall, the production and musicianship on this album is top-notch and the fact that Ozzy seems to be pulling these songs and performances from his heart – laying it all out there – makes this collection as special as it is outstanding.
Ordinary Man is out now – go get it.