If you’re a Metalhead of a certain age (in my case, 46) OZZY OSBOURNE absolutely needs no introduction. His first album in 10 years just dropped in the form of Ordinary Man, and let me tell you it is a fun ride. Musically this is more hard rock then heavy metal, and that’s just fine. Andrew Watt (yis, the Andrew Watt known for producing Cardi B!) played guitar, co-wrote the tunes, and produced the record. It’s polished to a high sheen, but not nearly as overdone as Ron Nevison’s work on The Ultimate Sin. A couple of real heavyweights joined the fray with Chad Smith from RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS on drums and GUNS N’ROSES’ Duff McKagan hitting the bass. So with this crackerjack band how do the songs sound?
Right away we have “Straight to Hell” which features OZZY’S patented “All Right Now!”, and aside from one galactically stupid lyric, it’s a catchy, heavy track. “All My Life” has a very introspective feel to it, and there’s a wistfulness that truly sounds genuine. Meanwhile, “Goodbye” starts all doom and gloom before kicking into high gear. Smith gets to go apeshit at the end, by the way. One of the biggest gems on the disc comes in the title track “Ordinary Man” featuring Sir Elton John. OZZY has done some really moving and haunting tracks in the past, and this one belongs right up there with the likes of “Fire In the Sky” and “Killer of Giants.” Sir Elton plays his piano and sings his parts with gusto, simply breathtaking.
“Under the Graveyard” is one I really enjoyed from the first time I heard it. I remember thinking, “FUCK YEAH! He’s back!!” and I’m sure many of you did, too. McKagan brings some serious low-end thunder to “Eat Me”, a tongue-in-cheek song that still rocks pretty hard, while “Today Is the End” mines familiar territory from the Prince of Darkness. It’s okay, but not great. “Scary Little Green Men” on the other hand, despite having a silly title and even sillier lyrics, is a friggin’ hoot. You’ll be singing that hook for hours, believe me. “Holy For Tonight” is another strong track, a throwback to the 70’s. But not 70’s-era BLACK SABBATH, mind you. And that’s great, because that shit’s been done to death.
Finishing things off is a pair of songs with guest stars, one good and one…not so much. “It’s a Raid” is a punkish affair featuring guest vocals from POST MALONE and it’s a rollicking good time. He’s actually got a great voice for heavy rock. Shame he looks like he hasn’t seen the inside of a shower for over a decade. He also shows up on closer “Take What You Want,” as does Travis Scott. This one’s a snoozer, that’s all I can say. I’m not a fan. Still, at the end of the day OZZY OSBOURNE has delivered a very strong record in Ordinary Man, and it’s one I can see myself spinning more as time goes on, give or take a song or two. It’s not an AOTY candidate by any means, but like I said earlier, it’s a fun listen. Give it a go, see what you think.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Under the Graveyard”, “Ordinary Man”, “Scary Little Green Men”, “It’s a Raid”, “Holy For Tonight”