REVIEW: Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man (2020 Japanese import)

OZZY OSBOURNE – Ordinary Man (2020 Epic Japanese import)

Expectations were low at LeBrain HQ for a new album by Ozzy Osbourne.  In that regard, Ozzy delivered.  Ordinary Man is an ordinary album.  It is Hard Rock 2020 distilled down to 50 minutes.  Nothing on this album comes close to challenging anything from the first six Ozzy albums.  It’s most comparable to 2001’s Down to Earth, an overly-modern affair put together by suits.

This time out, the suits assembled a band consisting of Duff McKagan (GN’R) on bass, Chad Smith (RHCP) on drums, and Andrew Watt (California Breed) on guitar.   These guys, plus a smattering of strangers, are responsible for the songwriting.  The melodies are very deliberate and calculated rather than natural sounding.  While things with Zakk Wylde were getting stale, at least Zakk tried to keep Ozzy on track.  I’m not sure Ozzy is on track here.  “I’ll make you scream, I’ll make you defecate.”  Who wrote that?

The glossy production covers up some pretty stellar playing.  Watt is fantastic when soloing, but sounds a bit like he’s trying to ape the Zakk vibe.  In the vocals department, you can hear some telltale signs of autotune, which I guess is OK now in 2020.  If Paul Stanley can lipsynch live and get away with it, then Ozzy can autotune his albums.  I suppose.

Some of the better tracks include the ballads, and the surprising “Scary Little Green Men”.  This one features some awesome lickity-licks from Tom Morello.  Slash appears elsewhere, not sounding at all like Slash.  The single “Under the Graveyard” is not bad.  The worst track has to be “It’s a Raid”, possibly an outtake from Blink 182’s Neighborhoods CD.

Elton John sings on one track, and it’s not bad at all, sounding like a classic Ozzy ballad from the 1990s.  I didn’t recognise Reginald Dwight’s voice at first.  It’s deeper these days.  Regarding Post Malone, he’s fine, has a decent voice albeit also autotuned.  I don’t know what the guy sounds like without enhancement, but he sounds like he’s probably a better singer than Ozzy recently.  I could do without his song “Take What You Want”, but at least the Japanese edition of the album ends on a better note.  A blues track called “Darkside Blues” is brief, but actually sounds like something more real, more genuine.

Think about your favourite Ozzy albums.  How often to do you spin Blizzard, Diary, or Tears?  Now think about how often you play Down to Earth, Black Rain, and Scream.  In two years’ time, you’ll be spinning Ordinary Man about as often as Black Rain, but you won’t be getting Wylde.

2/5 stars

39 comments

  1. I read a comment saying that on this new album there’s more autotune than voice now. I agree with that sentiment. This album is just so robotic. I was beginning to think I was crazy since a lot of your constituents are praising it so, but I’m reasonably confident that I’m not insane now.

    Thank your for singling out “It’s a Raid”. That song is pure shite!

    The Ultimate Sin/Diary of a Madman (Tie)>Blizzard of Ozz>Bark at the Moon>No More Tears>No Rest for the Wicked>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Everything else

    Subjective!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Constituents! LOL! You’re hilarious. I’ve been doing Facebook live streaming for my “constituents” over the last night and will do some more today. They’re great. We talked about Ozzy alot. Harrison peppered me with questions. Lots of tough question. Like “who is hotter, a or b”.

      Anyway I’m gonna catch hell for this review I know it.

      Like

    2. The live streaming has been great. And I did indeed ask a lot of questions, but none about who is hotter.

      I did good naturally ask LeBrain “Holen or Harrison”? to which he replied “both the same”, but also said that you win on seniority, saying that he’d known you longer.

      I was like WOW. I didn’t know that you knew him longer. That was a real surprise to me, because I remember first seeing your first comment (at least that’s what I thought). I do know you changed your commenting name at one point though

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I believe my first appearance ever is on May 23, 2016. I corrected him stating that The Ultimate Ozzy was recorded in Kansas City, Kansas. It was recorded in KC, Missouri. So yes, I have seniority by a few years I think. When was your first post here Harrison?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. First i read was Best of the Beast. First I commented on was jointly on Iron Maiden Another Live and Iron Maiden Revenge is Living in the Past (Both bootlegs)

          Like

  2. Like that last line! Sounds about right. I have to say, what I’ve heard was better than I expected. Some good songs. But not enough for me to buy it… the auto tune is annoying and I think it would end up exactly as you say. Forgotten about in a years time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am sorry you didn’t like it. But that Japanese CD looks fantastic. I found the songs to be fun and catchy and I thought Watts playings was pretty good. I agree I won’t spin it as much as his early albums, but I will spin it way more than those other 3 that I don’t think I have spun more than once. I think it is a good enough album to make Ozzy relevant and find himself a new, younger audience thanks to Post. My kids, no doubt, know who Ozzy is now. Ok, being my kids, they knew Ozzy was before, but the fact he was with Post, they think that is cool.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The packaging is really nice. I don’t know what the domestic CD looks like, a normal jewel case I assume? The silver embossed writing is really nice. The Blu Spec CD is written with a blue laser, which supposedly creates less errors and therefore a better sounding CD. So goes the hype. Sounds the same to me!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. There probably is no perceivable difference once you convert it to mp3 anyway as I did. I’m not a sound engineer anyway — I’d be curious if a guy like your bro in law can hear the difference in things like that. Maybe with a studio pair of headphones and top level equipment.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha!
    I like this record and I can’t compare it to the last three as I never bought em. It’s true we all can’t dig everything and that’s what makes reviews fun. At times we agree. At times we disagree.
    People I find get way to hung up on the autotune deal. Who cares as long as the song is decent and the dude is putting out good work I’m cool with it. I also find Watt goes the exact opposite route of Wylde is what I also like.
    Outside the box release from Ozz. His crappy health aside does not factor in my liking this album whatever as someone else commented about.
    Will I be listening to this in a year’s time? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t take any stock in that at all as long as I’m digging it now which is what matters.
    I think I mentioned it or maybe John or maybe some other reviewer said it as you cannot compare this to the Rhoads/Lee years. You can’t man.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sigh. See I knew I was gonna catch hell for this one! But see, even comparing to the Gus G album, I prefer Scream. I’m listening to it this morning and while it’s a little nu-metalish, it had something real to it. “Soul Sucker” is still great, kinda like a modern “Miracle Man”.

      The musicianship on this album is stellar, the best bass playing on an Ozzy album since Ozzmosis with the Geez himself. Same with drums, best since Randy Castillo was around. The guitars are top drawer. I just don’t feel a lot of these songs, they sound so…millennial is the word I keep coming back to.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting point about listening frequency compared to other albums in the catalogue – despite not personally owning any of them, I knew the first 3 you mentioned with just the one-word clues. However the second group of 3 albums, even with the full names, I don’t think I recognized any of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like the album overall and got a chuckle from the defecate line. Might be his best since Ozzmosis, so we’ll see how many spins it is getting in 2022. The last tune is the only one I didn’t care for. I think that is the Post Malone one. I’m not sure who he is.

    Liked by 1 person

Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s