without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
"Crazy Train" and "You Looking at me looking at you", are among the list of songs which have left their intricate mark in heavy metal, and rock history. Some would argue that these couple of songs are overrated, or straight out bleak. When looked with a contemporary context, it's obvious that those couple of songs will come out as bland, but that is only because they've served as an archetype to a countless amount of bands, who continued to build on the sound coined by those couple of song.
Ozzy Osbourne is probably one of the most influential singer in the entire heavy metal genre, and that's definite. Whenever you ask someone who is not well acquainted with the metal sub-genre, a metal singer, their instant answer would be Ozzy Osbourne, and that's a fact. Sure, Metallica, and Judas Priest have almost reached the height of Ozzy Osbourne's popularity, but their success is probably inferior to that of this iconic figure.
Most probably, all the drama between Black Sabbath, and Ozzy Osbourne served as some sort of advertisement for Ozzy's single work, because when compared to other Crazy Train's contemporaries, the couple of songs in this single are nothing but standard metal, maybe less sinister than that of Black Sabbath, and consistently more melodic. But those two traits, don't make up for something groundbreaking. In Flames, are also less sinister than other melodic-death metal bands, and can be considered quite melodic, but in the end, when compared to other bands they sound bland, and uninspired.
So, the music on this single, is quite average. Most of us are well aware of what those two songs sound like, but I'm going to try to furthermore dissect each song. Crazy Train is probably the most popular of the two songs, becoming sort of an emblem of the entire genre. Ozzy's maniacal screams in the beginning, provide the song with some sort of unorthodox nature, which is rendered null as the song progresses. The bass on this track is very groovy, and listenable, but in the end, it doesn't do the job of creating its unique sound effectively. The guitars are both emotional, and technically astounding. Ozzy's vocals are, well they're "Ozzy-ish", we're all familiar with his high-pitched vocals. The drums are fairly standard, yet they manage to blend in the background quite nicely.
The second song, entitled "You Looking at me looking at you" is significantly less metal, although I dare say more sentimental than the former. It sounds like your average hard-rock song, 4/4 tempo, lyrics talking about some long-forgotten love, and technically flawless guitar. Nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary, when compared with Ozzy's work with Black Sabbath. So entrenched in this song, is the very familiar feel we get when listening to some 50's-60's rock'n'roll although tinged with a little bit of heaviness.
The production is quite alright, it's not muddy, but it's not superb. It's just standard, just like anything else on this album. The riffs on this album were quite groovy, and atmospheric a fact which renders the album more enjoyable, but robs its potential to become something which stands out from the rest of the stuff we constantly hear. A trait within this album which I really appreciate is the soulful, beating solos, by the legendary guitarist "Randy Rhoads", whose creativity although not quite enough to stand out, was still significant to the overall progress of the genre.
I don't really think I have to suggest anyone to listen to this single, because if you're into metal, and haven't been living under a rock during the previous thirty years, you've probably heard this song for millions of times, and on the verge of getting sick of it, but actually, when thinking about it, those two songs are so catchy, that it is impossible to get sick of them.
There are a few things that are just impossible to argue against because they are too obvious for there to be an opinion on the matter, and that is the historical significance of this single. Leaving aside the competition that developed between “Blizzard Of Ozz” and Black Sabbath’s magnum opus “Heaven And Hell”, “Crazy Train” was responsible for ushering a whole new guitar driven approach to heavy metal that allowed lead players to just cut loose and create extended passages of technical gymnastics. Naturally some would later take this a little bit far and the style started to get a little ridiculous, but here there is still a strong amount of attention paid to songwriting and musicality.
This song is basically a manifesto for Rhoades’ unique blend of hard rock riffing and neo-classical tendencies. Although his sense of tonality doesn’t go off into overt emulations of Baroque counterpoint the way Yngwie Malmsteen’s material would a couple years later, it definitely takes a few pointers from some of the old maestros who pioneered the idea of music being a high art form. His riffing style is very free flowing, littered with fills and ornamentation to keep the ears guessing, and essentially drives the entire song. The rhythm section is just sort of there, acting as a ground for Rhandy to stand on, while Ozzy just sort of does his job putting words to the music to keep the song from becoming a composition.
The b-side to this single, which was never included on “Blizzard Of Ozz” until the 2002 re-release (which sucks because of the re-recorded bass and drums), is actually better than several of the songs that ended up appearing on the debut. It’s got a really solid driving galloping rhythm to it and plenty of lead treats for guitar enthusiasts. The one thing that sort of makes the song atypical among Ozzy’s early 80s offerings is that it has one of those really happy sounding late 70s/early 80s choruses that were more common to bands like Quiet Riot and Twisted Sister. It probably would have sounded a bit out of place on an album with “Mr. Crowley” and “Suicide Solution” on it, but it isn’t really all that more party rock sounding than “Flying High Again”.
This is one of those rare occasions where it is necessary to seek out the original version of this single, probably via legal mp3 download. The bass and drum re-recordings on the 2002 reissue of “Blizzard Of Ozz” really screwed up the atmosphere that made the original the solid piece of metal that it was. It’s a historical release that paved the way to a whole new generation of amazing guitar oriented metal that made the 80s what it was. Perhaps we can’t have the old Ozzy back now, but we can still appreciate what he gave us during his lucid years.