REVIEW: Ozzy Osbourne – No More Tears (remaster)

“Politicians make decisions, they’re the ones to blame, so don’t blame me.”  — Ozzy Osbourne

OZZY OSBOURNE – No More Tears (originally 1991, 2002 Sony remastered edition)

No More Tears was a big hit for Ozzy and is usually hailed as a “comeback” and “his best album since Randy Rhoads”. But is it?

No More Tears certainly offers chills, thrills and new sounds.  Slide guitar on an Ozzy album?  Check out “Mr. Tinkertrain”.  Zakk Wylde was starting to spread out and grow, really exploring his southern roots and adapting that to heavy metal.  No More Tears might be the peak of Ozzy’s collaborations with Zakk, as they really did produce some magic here.  Some of the stuff Zakk does on “Mr. Tinkertrain” alone is career-defining.

Ozzy was also trying to escape his “satanic” image, and No More Tears was his step away from that.  It’s also a step towards the mainstream.  Second track “I Don’t Want to Change the World” is an example of Ozzy’s turn to radio-ready hard rock.  It’s a shame because after the chunky guitar assault of “Mr. Tinkertrain”, a speedy metal track like “Don’t Blame Me” would have been perfect in the second slot.  “I Don’t Want to Change the World” is unfortunately not much better than a Motley Crue filler track.  It’s repetitive and despite Zakk’s squeals and licks, fails to launch.  His solo at least scorches hot.  Then the whole thing gets stuck in the mud.  “Mama, I’m Coming Home” (lyrics co-written by Lemmy) was the hit ballad that I never liked.  “Mama” more than any of the other tracks really represented Ozzy’s desire to break free of the shackles of his own image.  There are better ballads on the album.  “Mama” is so generic it could have been recorded by literally anybody.

Moving past, the album catches a little air due to the groovy chugging riff of “Desire”.  The stock melody doesn’t do it many favours, but momentum is restored.

Ozzy did well by discovering his newest member, bass player Mike Inez who later went on to Alice in Chains.  Inez was a co-writer on the title track “No More Tears” and his bass line has become a signature hook.  “No More Tears” is one of Ozzy’s greatest achievements as a recording artist.  This is a direction he should have explored further.  Even though it’s incredibly memorable and accessible, “No More Tears” has slightly progressive and psychedelic elements mixed in.  Its groove was detuned and modern, but the samples and keys bring it levels above what most other mainstream bands were doing in 1991.  And then there’s Zakk’s slippery slide guitar expertise.  It just doesn’t get any better than “No More Tears”.  Ozzy wanted to move beyond being the clown prince of devilish metal?  Mission accomplished and then some, in a completely fearless 7:24.  Ozzy was an innovator when he was in Black Sabbath, and in 1991 he became that again on “No More Tears”.

Opening side two, “S.I.N.” is great old-school Ozzy metal.  Call it “S.I.N.” or just “Shadows in the Night”, this track has the kind of classic hooks and soaring vocals that Ozzy is so good at delivering.  Ozzy had a core writing team of Zakk and drummer Randy Castillo, who wrote this killer.  Lemmy stepped in to help out on “Hellraiser” which Motorhead recorded as well on 1992’s March ör Die.  “Hellraiser” is too middle of the road to be classic.  Even Motorhead’s version kind of sucks.

A stock ballad called “Time After Time” is a tad better than “Mama, I’m Coming Home”.  It has some pretty sweet melodies and harmonies going for it, and another brilliant Zakk solo.  “Zombie Stomp” brings back the heavy, simply by living up to its name.  You got a name like that, you better stomp, and this one stomps like all the beasts in the jungle are coming for you now.  It’s also plenty of fun.  Surely an underappreciated Ozzy career highlight.  Drummer Randy Castillo had a lot to be proud of on this one, as he took the spotlight for the two minute tribal intro.  When that’s all over, Zakk powers the groove.

More fun ensues on “A.V.H.” (no idea what that stands for).  A little bit of southern pickin’ from Zakk gives way to an adrenaline powered blast.  It’s a shorty compared to some of the more epic lengthy songs.  Finally “Road to Nowhere” ends the album with a retrospective.  “I was looking back on my life, and all the things I’ve done to me.”  It’s easily the strongest ballad on the album and one of Ozzy’s personal best.  “The wreckage of my past keeps haunting me,” wrote Ozzy in 1991, perhaps not knowing that it always will.

There is no arguing the importance of the song “Mama, I’m Coming Home” in the career of Ozzy.  It went top 30, and was huge on MTV.  Would No More Tears be a better album without it?  Should Ozzy have released it as a single or on a movie soundtrack?  Try this.  Remove “Mama” from the album, and put the B-side track “Don’t Blame Me”* in between “Mr. Tinkertrain” and “I Don’t Want to Change the World”. There is something to be said for a good B-side, and Ozzy has done a number over the years.  Yet “Don’t Blame Me” is far too good for that fate.  It combines riff with groove and hooks like nothing else on the album, and just listen to Zakk’s funky pickin’.  Fortunately it’s on the 2002 Sony remastered CD, along with a lesser B-side called “Party With the Animals”.  You might remember it from the 1992 soundtrack Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  “Animals” is definite B-side material.

Back to our original question.  Was No More Tears the “best album since Randy Rhoads”?  It’s quite good and easily his biggest since Randy Rhoads.  But it has filler, and some of that filler is downright annoying.  The remastered edition is the one to get, since you don’t want to miss out on “Don’t Blame Me”.  Bark at the Moon is likely the high water mark since the passing of Rhoads.  No More Tears is still one to own, even if you have the hits, for some killer and underrated album tracks (and one B-side).

3.5/5 stars

* Two early album titles used for this record were Don’t Blame Me and No Dogs Allowed.

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22 comments

  1. Gonna have to disagree with you on this one. I love this album, even with some of the filling.
    I’ll try switching Mama and Blame to see if it makes it stronger, but I already love it so I’m not a good judge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Raced out with two buddies(Cement head and Oinks) to get tickets for this tour as OZZY billed it the No More Tours Tour! Ha!
    This album for that reason I really like as at the time and seeing the show so the album got a million spins one time…
    The rock stuff on this record is wicked good. So bummed he didn’t play Mr Tinkertrain! hahaha..
    AVH and Desire(Zakk’s solo is amazing on this track) are the best ….
    Last real studio album of Ozzy’s I totally dug…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cement Head and Oinks!

      How come none of Deke’s stories start with, “I was with two gentlemen named William and Bartholomew…

      LOL! I need to hang out with anybody named Cement Head.

      On some days, I prefer Ozzmosis.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry Mike have been sidelined for a bit some catching up to do (see you reviewed Rage For Order too need delve into that one and I still owe you a book review ;)

    So glad you finally reviewed this one Mike and considering some of your life complaints gotta respect a 3.5 cheers!

    No More Tears is a top5er fer this fan. Many a bad time was cleansed with this record many a good time celebrated. No More Tears proved loyal company many a time while dealing with some usual life crud and don’t get me started on the music LOL.

    One of the advantages of living abroad was not getting new singles constantly blasted over the radio so when a new album dropped that’s exactly all we got, the album! So for example “I Don’t Want to Change the World” was an album track through and through and remains staple Tears to this day and Mama likewise. What a magnificent song that is and sorry to say Mike Time After Time is just as good :) Oh and Road To Nowhere? Now THAT is a song! Indeed a highlight so just want to kudos that one before signing off.

    Differ a little but great review Mike cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only have HMO who has agreed with me! And that is OK.

      Sometimese these big albums are a challenge. Everyone knows them. Everyone has a feeling about it. Wait untill I get to Use Your Illusions! People freak out when I say I prefer them to Appetite.

      Like

  4. Intriguing question – what if the album hadn’t had the big hit? I think it’s the only one I know fromt this album, so it probably would change my impression as a casual fan.
    That’s a good line in the closing track, ‘all these things I’ve done to me’

    Like

  5. Years ago I would have disagreed. I loved this album a lot back then but, over time, it’s lost its charm for me. Not aged well. So I think the score is about right these days. The last Ozzy studio that I enjoyed but I’d take No Rest For The Wicked over it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking about that. I suppose that makes sense.

      Metallica, Van Halen, Guns and Skid Row are the top 4 selling metal albums of that year. Ozzy had to be up there with them. Then we had some quality new releases from Motorhead, Mr. Big, and Anthrax..,.it was a crowded field but there were some obvious standouts among the Enuff Znuff.

      Like

  6. Remeber when Ozzy was supposed to retire after this one? lol

    Disagree biiiiig time… I love this album from start to finish. I like mixing up the track listing though. I might give that a try. I’d put the underrated (IMHO) No Rest for the Wicked as a close 2nd for best non-Rhoads Ozzy album.

    A.V.H. = Alcohol, Valium, and Hashish! \\m//

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Alcohol Valium and Hash. Well now I know. Thanks, Mars!

      I figured this is one of those albums a lot of people would disagree on with me. And that’s cool! 10 years ago I might have gone 2/5 stars.

      Like

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