Ozzy Osbourne proves he is no ordinary man


Illustration by Melissa Joseph

“Ordinary Man” is Ozzy Osbourne’s first album in a decade, consisting solely of original music. Despite a string of serious health issues that left the 71 year old musician hospitalized and forced him to cancel his 2020 North American tour, he sounds as lively as ever. 

In 2018, the Prince of Darkness was set to bid farewell on his “No More Tours 2” tour. Toward the end of the year, Osbourne found himself fighting a staph infection and a case of pneumonia, all while silently struggling with Parkinson’s disease. As a result, the musician was forced to postpone his upcoming tours. 

In the midst of a battle with his health, in 2019 he managed to make an appearance on a Post Malone song, subsequently sending the Godfather of Metal on a creative frenzy. He started working with Malone’s own producer and enlisted a handful of high-profile guest appearances, including Slash, Elton John and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. The end result was a surprisingly strong comeback for Osbourne. 

“Under the Graveyard” showcases many of Osbourne’s greatest strengths. Released as his first single since 2011, the song features Osbourne singing an anthem of a chorus and a signature guitar melody made for arenas. 

Perhaps the most impressive feat of “Ordinary Man” is how strong Osbourne’s vocal performances sound. Sure, there was a bit of a studio helping hand, but the man sounds good. 

On tracks, like the punky “It’s A Raid,” Osbourne delivers an impressive, high energy performance. With a fitting feature from Post Malone, he sings about the moment of panic when police discover one’s cocaine stash. 

The title track assures the audience that Osbourne isn’t going out without an incredibly loud bang. “Don’t forget me as the colors fade / When the lights go down, it’s just an empty stage,” he sings alongside Elton John. While the musician is no stranger to emotionally explicative songwriting, the way Osbourne stares in the face of death on this track is enough to make anyone’s bones turn cold. 

The album closes with “Take What You Want,” a collaboration that Osbourne did with Post Malone and Travis Scott last year. Old fans of the Sabbath frontman will probably find this unexpected, but Malone is something of a modern day rockstar and everything about the feature works. 

The only flaw setting “Ordinary Man” back is how absolutely commercial it sounds. It’s too clean for someone who earned their reputation creating grimy metal music. But if the album reveals anything about Osbourne, it’s that he certainly won’t die an ordinary man. The way his voice, energy and overall presence fills a room is unparalleled.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Online tags: music, album review, Ozzy Osbourne, post malone