Review of Ozzy Osbourne, Ordinary Man (Epic, 2020)

Ozzy is back.

The lead banger on the new set starts in iconic Ozzy fashion: “All right, now!” Fast-paced with thundering Duff McKagan bass lines and crushing, soaring guitar work by Slash, “Straight To Hell” is exactly what I wanted to hear from the latest in the Osbourne canon. Ozzy has had such a long and storied career, creating actual classics in heavy music time and again, it is natural to wonder whether this new one, many years after his last studio release, would it have a big punch. Would it be over-produced? Would it be rushed? How would Ozzy sound? We can kick all our worries off a cliff because Ordinary Man is a big hard rocker that surpasses expectations.

The musicians playing on most songs are Ozzy, naturally, Duff McKagan (bass), Chad Smith (drums), and Andrew Watt (guitars, etc.). There are some big-name guests, too, including Elton John, Post Malone, and Slash. According to the reporting on it all, the project came together and was wrapped up in just a few weeks, which is truly amazing and hard to believe when listening to the final product. The music sounds fresh and at the same time has familiar Ozzy Osbourne pulls. There are fast and heavy songs, a few slow songs, and ½ and ½’s. Some of the songs are deadly serious, like the single “Under the Graveyard,” while others are silly, like “Scary Little Green Men.” Familiar themes such as addiction, fame, darkness, and redemption permeate the set while the musical styles wave and pulse enough to keep your brain firing while your body stands the entire time in the heavy world of Ozzy. The balance and cleverness of the musical composition and lyrics are very impressive – there are strings and backing vocals here and there, always at exactly the right time in the right amount so nothing sounds over-done.

I like all of Ozzy’s albums, and sure, I do like some more than others. I’d put Ordinary Man well up in the top half of the whole list – I have listened to it back-to-back three times and it’s going again when this spin is done. Highly recommended.

In yet another surprise, Ozzy is already talking about recording a second album with Andrew Watt soon, as in any time now. I feel trepidation creeping in, but why worry – this one was great so why wouldn’t the next one be, too. And you know what? Instead of thinking ahead, I’m just going to listen to Ordinary Man again. “All right, now!”


Ozzy Osbourne,

Review of Ozzy Osbourne, Ordinary Man (Epic, 2020)