Published Feb 21, 2020It's been a decade since Ozzy Osbourne last released a solo album, and he's back with a vengeance on Ordinary Man. While Ozzy has been dealing with persistent health issues over the past while, he comes out on top with what could be his last full-length album, leaving a lasting impression on the world.
The last several Ozzy solo albums have felt relatively forgettable, with each one since 1991's No More Tears feeling like a somewhat lackluster excuse to push him back on the road with a small handful of singles that last for the album cycle and get forgotten afterward. This time though, the majority of the material sounds like something fans will be revisiting, alongside the greats of his discography, for years to come.
Much like previous albums had a big single early on (Black Rain's "I Don't Want to Stop" or Scream's "Let Me Hear You Scream"), Ordinary Man kicks off with an obvious pick for a radio-ready track in "Straight to Hell." Things don't fall off after that, though, with "All My Life" and "Goodbye" keeping the energy up through captivating mid-tempo rock riffs mixed with Ozzy's classic eerie atmospheric vibes. Much of the album feels reminiscent of No More Tears, with a solid back-and-forth between creepy clean sections and hard-hitting riffs, particularly on "Under the Graveyard," which flips between haunting acoustic plucking and old-school metal greatness.
The album features a star-studded cast of collaborators, including Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagen and Post Malone producer Andrew Watts handling the backing band throughout the record. On top of that, the title track sees Elton John bringing in a power ballad piano song that is one of the most intriguing things Ozzy has ever done.
"It's A Raid" also brings in Post Malone himself after the pair collabed (along with Travis Scott) for the more hip-hop-oriented "Take What You Want" on Malone's album, which also appears on Ordinary Man as a bonus track. This song sees Post Malone getting the chance to really step away from his heavily Auto-Tuned voice and show his passion for rock and metal with a vocal delivery unlike anything he's been able to show on a recording yet.
Ordinary Man isn't necessarily the best Ozzy album ever made, but if this does mark the end of his recording career, he's ended with a bang instead of a thud. The record is easily the most captivating music he's made on a solo record since the early '90s, and despite small flaws with select songs, he's created another record worthy of people's attention. (Epic)