It was in late 1979 when Ozzy Osbourne left the notorious Black Sabbath for several months to pursue the solo project titled Blizzard of Ozz. It was this time that Ozzy paved the path for what would become the legendary Birmingham man’s iconic music career, aside from Black Sabbath.
Since then Ozzy has released 11 solo LPs, with his 12th album “Ordinary Man” ascending from the depth’s of hell on this memorable day of the 21st of February 2020.
In preparation for the release of this highly anticipated album, Ozzy has come clean about the hardships he has to go through in the process of creating this record. Most notably, his declaration for the diagnosis of “Parkinson’s disease” and how it recently shook, not only his world, but for those around him. Although this was a pretty scary announcement for some (like me), many fans were not worried about losing the legend, as Ozzy is infamously labelled immortal for his wildly iconic, but dangerous, experiences of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.
Despite his proven ability to skip death, I still can’t help but feel a little hesitant about how much longer he’ll be gracing us with his presence. Given the overall elegiac feel to Ordinary Man, it seems as though Osbourne also feels that way.
The opening track, “Straight To Hell” immediately feeds the Prince of Darkness fans the dark-satanic themes that they have been lusting for these past 10 years, with lyrics like “Enjoy the Ride, I’ll plant my biter seed / You’ll kill yourself and I will watch you bleed”.
It’s heavy, melodic and everything Sabbath & Ozzy fans could want. Almost, almost, giving the impression that Ozzy is sitting on his throne saying “You thought you’d get rid of me that fast?”
But the fun and classic dark vibes take a more serious sombre turn with the second track “All My Life”. The song is a self-reflection of the incredible legends 71-year life; from life as a rockstar to the hardships, and so forth. This, to me, is the real opening track of the album. Because despite the few other ‘fun’ songs on this album… It’s evident that Ozzy recorded this album with the intention of ‘if I die tomorrow, I said my peace’.
A-la-Bowie with “Blackstar”.
Continuing this theme of preparing for final goodbyes, the third track…Literally called “Goodbye”, is an emotionally driven power-ballad on how Ozzy has contemplated literal suicide out of exhaustion. Although the song ends with a comical true-to-Ozzy style with “Do They Sell Tea in Heaven?”… We are immediately taken further down this death-heavy album.
And not like “Death Metal” heavy.
The fourth song, and the album title track, is a collaborative project with Sir Elton John. Again, we’re hit with the sorrowful lyrics of Ozzy’s contemplation of death and his fear of it:
“Yes, I’ve been a bad guy / Been higher than the blue sky / And the truth is I don’t wanna die an Ordinary Man. I’ve made Momma cry / Don’t know why I’m still alive / Yes, the truth is I don’t want to die an ordinary man”
The album is followed by another emotional power-ballad with “Under The Graveyard”. Much like the other songs on this record, we’re told that Ozzy has been crying for help, sharing that despite all the (insensitive) jokes about Ozzy and his diagnosis of Parkinson’s, he’s made it very clear that behind the scenes, he’s been suffering. The song elaborates that he doesn’t want to have to be taken care of like a child, instead, he would rather just be buried and done with.
Absolutely heartbreaking, sorrowing and the sad reality of many seniors living today. Going from an independent “mad-lad”, to a man that has to be held when walked and reminded of where he is? I couldn’t imagine the pain Ozzy is going through at the moment, but I am thankful he has been so honest about it.
Nevertheless, Ozzy wouldn’t leave us in such sad feelings for too long, because the fifth track is a very weird turn of events. Although it’s probably one of the most Ozzy Osbourne stories I’ve ever heard in a while, the fifth track “Eat Me”… is about cannibalism.
Literally, the song is Ozzy convincing the world that he’s delicious and should be eaten. Although it’s most likely just an over-exaggerated extended metaphor of the phrase, “Eat Me”, that one would say when being slagged off. Still, a nice comic-relief from a generally sad record, and with Ozzy, you can never be too sure how literal one should take it.
The album then follows the same pattern with more painfully truthful songs like “Holy For Tonight”, where the Prince of Darkness humbly admits that when the time comes, he’d strip back the “Satanic” imagery for assurance that his death is a good one. Reminding me of the famous Anton LaVey rumours that on his deathbed he asked the big g-o-d for forgiveness.
It wouldn’t be a 21st-century album without some more ‘millennial’ features, which Ozzy has done quite brilliantly. The final two tracks have guest appearances by Post Malone and Travis Scott. Which, surprisingly works really well with the songs, and is a great way to introduce Gen Z to the legend that is Ozzy Osbourne.
Nonetheless, it saddens me that men, like Ozzy, that were once so fearless, unapologetic and brave, are stripped of their masks and forced to reflect on who they were in light of their leave from this planet.
Well, Ozzy, if this really is your final goodbye, I hope you know that you’ll never die an ordinary man. You are a man worshiped and cherished by many. The king of his craft. We fans would never let your light go out, and your death will not be in vain.
Thank You, Ozzy, for everything. This album is haunting, honest, but still the badass (and hilarious) Ozzy we all know and love.
Favourite songs: Straight to Hell, Goodbye, Under The Graveyard & Scary Little Green Men
Until next time Interwebs! 🕸
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