(24 October 1995/Epic)
Do you remember the first time you heard Ozzy Osbourne? I’m lucky enough to have that memory. We were on the bus leaving for our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. I had just gotten a CD player but I still didn’t have many discs to go with it. Luckily, my friends had oodles for me to choose from. As I had never heard Ozzy, but had heard a lot about Ozzy, I thought it would be a good idea to check him out. I can still remember when I heard the opening of “Perry Mason” and though “Oh… so this is what all the fuss is about.”
When considering the whole of Ozzy’s output I’m not sure Ozzmosis is the place I would recommend a new listener jump in. But considering that I’m still a fan all these years later, you certainly could do worse. From the moment those keyboards fired and the wicked bassline pumped up I was hooked. And then those Wylde guitar bends come in with that monster riff (and not too many pick squeals). To be honest, “Perry Mason” probably didn’t make me an Ozzy fan, but it sure had me in love with his band.
“I Just Want You” is another favorite. Is that guitar? Or is it a keyboard? Or both?! Who cares! It’s dark, haunting and ominous. And on this track Ozzy’s voice is great. You would be forgiven for writing off “Ghost Behind My Eyes” as a sappy power ballad, but I love the lyrics here. It’s something different than the normal ‘girl I can’t get out of my head’ bullshit. Then we come into the down-tuned chug of “Thunder Underground.” I love the way Zakk Wylde alternates those open chords with the low down picking on the chorus. I’ve never heard his guitar sound like it did on this album and I have to say that’s disappointing.
I think “See You On The Other Side” was the big hit from this album. It’s the only tune I can remember hearing on the radio. It’s somewhat ironic that Lemmy Kilmister co-wrote some of Ozzy’s biggest 90’s hits, but couldn’t seem to write any massive hits for his own band. Either way this is a highlight of the album with it’s clean arpeggio guitars and Ozzy’s soaring vocals. I’d love to have this song played at my funeral.
“Denial” features some of those great madman lyrics. “I don’t think I’m amazing, In fact I’m quite insane.” I’m not a huge fan of “My Little Man,” but I have to say it doesn’t sound like anything else from the album and definitely breaks things up. According to Wikipedia, Ozzy wrote several songs with Steve Vai, but this is the only one that made the final cut. I’d love to hear some more of those tracks.
“My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide” is a great foot stomper. I can’t help but think I’d like it more if it was positioned earlier in the album, but then again people closer to these songs than I chose the running order. “Old LA Tonight” is a classic closer. It starts of with some pretty piano and then goes off into the strange territory somewhere between power ballad and hard rock. It’s like a relaxing cigarette after some wild sex.
It’s weird to think that it’s been 20 years since Ozzy made an album I really liked. I remember Black Rain being OK, but it was nowhere near as great as Ozzmosis. I suppose that could be because this was my intro to the Ozzman that I love it so much, but even after many listens (and many listens to his other work) this is still one of my favorites.