Ozzy Osbourne: ‘Ordinary Man’

Released on February 21, 2020 (Epic)

I wasn’t intending on purchasing Ozzy Osbourne‘s latest studio album Ordinary Man but passing by it on an almost weekly basis at a Wal-Mart store for close to one year got the best of me. That and the fact that Ordinary Man will figure in the upcoming Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2020 peaked my curiosity. Is it actually a good album? After all, I had heard all of the songs for which videos had been made and it seemed that Ordinary Man would be a real hit and miss type of record. “Under The Graveyard” was underwhelming at best. The rap song “Take What You Want” was absolutely awful and really an embarrassment for the Black Sabbath singer. The ballad “Ordinary Man” with Elton John was good on a first listen and keeps getting better and better the more that I listen to it.

And that’s really the story on Ordinary Man. Hit and miss. Unfortunately, there are more misses than hits. Luckily for Osbourne, he has a very distinctive voice so whenever he sings, you know it’s him and his familiar voice can sometimes make a lacklustre song a half decent one. I still don’t know why Osbourne decided to hook up with Andrew Watt for this album. The guitar parts are pretty underwhelming compared to some of the other solo albums that Osbourne has come up with. That being said, Blizzard of Ozz is more than 40 years old and even No More Tears dates back about three decades. The last Ozzy solo album that I really liked is Ozzmosis and that one dates back more than a quarter century ago.

Even though there is one absolutely awful song (the rap collaboration with Post Malone and Travis Scott) on Ordinary Man, I actually enjoy the record more than something like 2007’s Black Rain, which had a real Black Label Society vibe to it courtesy of guitarist Zakk Wylde. Ordinary Man‘s opening track “Straight To Hell” is a solid track with a cool guitar riff and with Osbourne‘s vocals featured in a big way. I could have done without the almost trademark Ozzy line “C’mon now” which comes back on a couple of instances during the song. It just feels like Watt, who also handles the production duties with Louis Bell, tried to use some familiar lines from the past to get the opening song over. “All My Life” is a forgettable slower track. I think that it would have fit in better a little later on the album. “Goodbye” with the seemingly distorted guitar sounds is “alright” at best and has some moments. Unfortunately, the song goes from fast to slow and vice versa too many times and way too quickly for my liking.

I have already mentioned how brilliant the title track is. Truth is Elton John is a master of the epic ballads (for instance, his tribute to Lady Diana with “Candle In The Wind”) and with Osbourne, he delivers the shining moment on the record. Skipping over the disappointing “Under The Graveyard”, “Eat Me” would be in the “hit” category on the record but likely one of the weakest tracks of the good ones on the album. “Today Is The End” is a forgettable ballad aside from the chorus portion of the song which possesses a lot of melody. “Scary Little Green Men” feels like a bit of a mis-mash of parts put together. Some work well such as the chorus section while some don’t. There’s definitely not a lot of flow to that track aside from the chorus sections. “Holy For Tonight” is another ballad but pales in comparison to “Ordinary Man.” It’s just one ballad too many.

What can be said about Ozzy‘s foray into the rap world with his collaborations with American rapper Post Malone? You’d think that one song would be enough but Malone is featured on two songs on Osbourne‘s record. To be fair to Malone, “It’s A Raid” rocks quite a bit and is better than at least half the songs on Ordinary Man. “Take What You Want” on the other hand is more rap / hip hop (or whatever that style of music is called) than rock, and really shows how far that Osbourne can sell out. I do note that when the video came out, it was marketed as Post Malone featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott. Osbourne should have just left this track off Ordinary Man and simply treated it as a guest collaboration on another person’s record but now, it’s always there to ruin the ending of what could likely be his last studio album of his career.

Overall and as I previously indicated, Ordinary Man is a real hit and miss affair with more misses than hits. It’s sad to see how far that Osbourne will sell out to try to stay relevant. While his collaboration with Elton John on the title track is brilliant, the closing track “Take What You Want” with Malone and Scott is exactly the type of crap that you would hear on Top 40 radio. Some people may like it but I just can’t get into it and give the last track a two thumbs down. Had “Take What You Want” not been on the album, I would rate the album a lot higher but I simply can’t ignore the terrible sell out track that Osbourne elected to close his perhaps last studio album ever with.

Track List:
01. Straight To Hell
02. All My Life
03. Goodbye
04. Ordinary Man (feat. Elton John)
05. Under The Graveyard
06. Eat Me
07. Today Is The End
08. Scary Little Green Men
09. Holy For Tonight
10. It’s A Raid (feat. Post Malone)
11. Take What You Want (feat. Post Malone and Travis Scott)

Band Members:
Ozzy Osbourne – lead vocals, harmonica (6)
Andrew Watt – vocals, guitars, keyboards (2, 4-10), piano (4), bass (7)
Duff McKagan – bass (1–6, 8-10)
Chad Smith – drums, percussion (1-11)

Additional Musicians:
Slash – guitar (1, 4)
Tom Morello – guitar (8, 10)
Charlie Puth – keyboards (1)
Elton John – piano and co-lead vocals (4)
Post Malone – co-lead vocals (10, 11)
Travis Scott – vocals (11)
Kelly Osbourne – background vocals (6)
Michael Dore – bass
Nicholas Garrett – bass
Peter Snipp – bass
Richard Pryce – double bass
Stacey Watton – double bass
Charlie Schein – guitar
Happy Perez – keyboards (5, 8)
Ali Tamposi – vocals
Holly Laessig – background vocals
Jess Wolfe – background vocal
John Bowen – tenor vocals
Christopher Hann – tenor vocals
Gareth Treseder – tenor vocals
Hannah Cooke – alto
Jo Marshall – alto
Amy Lyddon – alto
Clara Sanabras – alto
Sara Davey – soprano
Grace Davidson – soprano
Joanna Forbes L’Estrange – soprano
Lizzie Ball – violin
Perry Montague-Mason – violin, strings
Mark Berrow – violin
John Bradbury – violin
Jackie Hartley – violin
Patrick Kiernan – violin
Boguslav Kostecki – violin
Gaby Lester – violin
Dorina Markoff – violin
Steve Morris – violin
Everton Nelson – violin
Tom Pigott-Smith – violin
Christopher Tombling – violin
Deborah Widdup – violin
Susan Dench – viola, vocals
Julia Knight – viola, vocals
Peter Lale – viola, vocals
Andy Parker – viola, vocals
Ian Burdge – viola, cello
Nick Cooper – viola, cello
Vicky Matthews – viola, cello
Chris Worsey – viola, cello

Produced by Andrew Watt and Louis Bell
Engineered by Louis Bell, Andrew Dudman, Dominik Gryzbon, Paul Lamalfa and Matt Still
Mastered by Mike Bozzi and Dave Kutch
Mixed by Manny Marroquin and Alan Moulder

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, March 2021

Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Straight To Hell” video:

Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Under The Graveyard” video:

Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Ordinary Man” video feat. Elton John:

Ozzy Osbourne‘s “It’s A Raid” video feat. Post Malone:

Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Take What You Want” video feat. Post Malone and Travis Scott: