Ozzy Osbourne: Ordinary Man review – his final statement?

Michael Hann

Given his recent tribulations – notably his diagnosis with Parkinson’s – it’s hardly surprising that there is a sometimes elegiac feel to Ozzy Osbourne’s 12th solo album. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I gave my life a try / Forgive me, I didn’t say goodbye,” he sings on Goodbye. On the title track, a stately duet in the post-Beatles mould with Elton John, he opens with the observation “I was unprepared for fame / Then everybody knew my name”, before announcing “I don’t want to die an ordinary man” and “I don’t know why I’m still alive”.

Still, given how many times he has appeared to be unable to carry on before, there’ll doubtless be another dozen records before he finally does pack it in.

Ordinary Man may have its lachrymose moments lyrically – albeit tempered by songs inspired by aliens (Scary Little Green Man), autocannibalism (Eat Me) and having to dispense with your cocaine because the police are visiting (It’s a Raid) – but that’s not true of the music. Instead of months in the studio with scores of session players, Ordinary Man was made in a few days with a core band of Duff McKagan, Chad Smith and Andrew Watt, who also produces. It sounds like it, in good and bad ways: there’s real urgency to Straight to Hell, but there are perhaps too few genuinely memorable songs. And the inclusion of last years’s Post Malone collaboration Take What You Want – Watt is rather better known for his work with Malone and Cardi B than for metal – is, frankly, baffling.