On 21 February 2020, Ozzy Osbourne released his 12th studio album - "Ordinary Man".
This album came out 10 years after Ozzy's previous studio album - "Scream", which was released in 2010.
This album was accidental, spontaneous, and unplanned, but this is also what makes it so special, giving it the added value and placing it as one of Ozzy's best albums of the 2000s.
This album started with a one-off collaboration between Ozzy and rapper Post Malone, who invited Ozzy to be a guest on his song "Take What You Want". The song was recorded for Malone's third album "Hollywood's Bleeding", which was released on September 6, 2019, and also features rapper Travis Scott.
This song and album of Post Malone were produced by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Watt. This encounter between Watt and Ozzy will be the trigger for the creation of "Ordinary Man". From there it all happened really fast, the album was written and recorded "On the Fly" and Ozzy noted that it very much reminded him of the way he worked on "Black Sabbath's" first albums.
Ozzy said that at first, he thought the recorded material would be used as demos, but it all happened so fast and spontaneously, and as time went on, things seemed to crystallize into something beautiful, so it was decided to continue with the project for a full album. This is also the reason why Ozzy did not recruit his fairly regular band members, and especially guitarist Zakk Wylde.
Watt was the one who connected Ozzy with Duff McKagan and with drummer Chad Smith, who played on Watt's 2015 EP. The two formed the rhythm section of this album. Ozzy said they came to the studio and jam with him during the days then he went home and worked on the songs at night.
Watt was also the one who played guitar on the album, a move that seemed rather strange on the part of Ozzy, who always made sure to recruit talented and gifted "ex-men" as guitarists. Watt who may be known as a certified rap producer proved himself as a talented guitarist who was part of the supergroup "California Breed" - a power trio that also included Glenn Hughes and drummer Jason Bonham. Anyone who listens to the album will find that Watt did a great job here. He wrote some great riffs and gave proper solos, so it is not for nothing that he received credit for participating in writing all the songs on the album.
Apparently, the spontaneity that was good for Sabbath's first albums did it on this album as well, and as we mentioned above, this is probably also what makes it as the best Prince of darkness album in the current millennium.
The opening song "Straight To Hell" begins with a-Capella, but make no mistake, it's going to explode in your face and send you "straight to hell". Ozzy and Watt enlisted Slash for this song and does such a great job here that puts this album in high gear.
The theme song "Ordinary Man" is a very personal and moving ballad in which Elton John participates in singing and playing the piano. Ozzy said that when he wrote the song it reminded him very much of some of Elton John's material and he thought it would be nice if Elton would join him on vocals. Elton of course agreed and even played the piano. This is the second song on the album to feature Slash on guitar. Ozzy wanted Slash for the song's solo because he thought its vibe and melody were close to "November Rain" and that Slash would fit in like a glove. And for all those of you who hear influences of "the Beatles", so drummer Chad Smith confirmed that there was such an intention here. Ozzy is a die-hard fan of "The Beatles" and he wanted the atmosphere to be as influenced by "The Fab Four" that he loves so much. Beyond the fact that the lyrics of the song are really moving and come straight out of Ozzy's heart, the video clip created for the song shows Ozzy watching the pictures of his life pass before his eyes, and it's very hard to remain indifferent and not cry with him.
Similar to the theme song, "Holy for Tonight" and "All My Life" also show Ozzy's more sensitive side and we really like that. This also happened on his first albums, in which Ozzy put in included one ballad, even two. It worked great then and it works great even today.
The song "Under the Graveyard", which was released as the first single from the album, is so catchy and includes the recurring mantra O-Ohhho, O-Ohhho... it starts calm and develops really nicely into a Black Sabbath-like c-part towards the end. This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful songs Ozzy has written over his career. Its clip is a kind of short filmed autobiography of Ozzy's life. It is interesting to note that Ozzy Osbourne was 70 years old at the time of writing the song. He was just after recovering from severe health problems, including severe pneumonia, not a simple injury from a fall, and a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease in the background. All these intensify the feelings upon listening to the theme song and this song.
"Eat Me" opens with Ozzy's harmonica playing, which reminded us of the days of "The Wizard" taken from "Black Sabbath"'s debut album. The bass and guitar riffs at the beginning of the song are also really reminiscent of the mother band. Kelly Osbourne - Ozzy's Daughter' is featured here on background vocals. The song was inspired by a true and terrifying story of "cannibalism" that took place in Germany in 2001, and here are its main facts (after censorship): A computer technician named Armin Meiwes posted an ad in "Cannibalism Cafe" A forum for people with a fetish for cannibalism. The ad stated: "looking for a normally-built 18- to 25-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed." An engineer from Berlin named Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes responded to the ad and the two met on the evening of March 9, 2001. Meiwes killed Brandes and then cut the victim into pieces and put them in the freezer. For the next ten months, he preyed on the body. Police arrested v in December 2002. They also discovered in his home a videotape of the killing during which Brandes clarified his consent to be eaten. This is not the first song written about the horrific event. "Mein Teil" (my dish) by "Rammstein" was also written about the same shocking incident.
"Scary Little Green Men" is a song Ozzy wrote about aliens, after watching a TV show. The song features guitarist Tom Morello, who manages to put in his special touch with the sounds of the wizard's guitar. This is a melodic and beautiful piece with a really catchy chorus.
"It's A Raid" features singer and rapper Post Malone, who was the trigger for the recording of the album. Here he returns a favor to Ozzy. This is the second song to feature guitarist Tom Morello. It's perhaps the fastest song on the album and for a very good reason. Ozzy noted that the song was influenced by a true story that occurred during the recording of Black "Sabbath's" "Vol. 4" album. Ozzy was really hot and he mistakenly pressed a panic button thinking he was activating the air conditioning. The police came into the studio because of the triggered alarm. There were a lot of drugs at the studio. Ozzy panicked. He screamed "It's A Raid" and flew with a bowl full of cocaine to the bathroom where he sniffed a huge amount of the substance until the cops left.
In conclusion, this album may not beat the same level as Ozzy's first albums from the 1980s and 1990s, but it is certainly one of Ozzy's greatest albums of the 2000s, if not the best of them all.