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Before I begin I would like to state for the record that the score given to this album reflects the inclusion of 2 bonus tracks on the 2002 reissue, which remarkably enough are better than 80% of the material on this halfwit concoction. A score of 35 should be applied to the original release, as it only contains 2 good songs, and 2 almost passable songs with ridiculous lyrics. Why these songs, along with a collection of other better songs such as “Back on Earth” and “Walk on Water” were not on the original release can only be explained as either a shameful attempt at spreading Ozzy’s better moments onto several CDs in order to boost sales, or as a momentary desire to shy away from sounding too 80s in the early post-Nirvana era, neither motive garners any sympathy from me obviously.
The marketing hype behind this album was huge, spearheaded by an endless barrage of broadcasts of the one lone masterpiece of this album “Perry Mason”. Essentially being an epic and more rocking variant on the “No More Tears” format that Ozzy and Zakk based most of their better 90s material off of, it features a rather intricate set of lead riff and keyboard interchanges. However, as great as this song is, it’s placement at the beginning of the album gives the impression that we are to be treated to a whole album of genius, and right after things really fall start of fall apart.
Although somewhat catchy in the musical department, “I Just Want You” is so lyrically absurd that it literally commits artistic suicide within the first 10 seconds. If Ozzy and company had elected to put this song as a B-side to a single and replaced it with “Back on Earth”, I would have boosted this album’s score an additional 10 points. Likewise, the Lemmy Kilmister collaboration “See you on the Otherside” is musically catchy and not too bad for a ballad, but the lyrics just kill the song, I literally lost count of how many times he repeats the song title.
Oh man does the shit rain from the sky for the majority of this album after getting past the radio friendly stuff. The crap runs in two distinct varieties, the pop-a-vein, hard to squeeze out kind in the form of slow and painful ballads, and the loose liquefied diarrhea groove grunge tracks which amount to Ozzy and Zakk ripping off riffs from alternative rock groups who, in turn, ripped them off from Sabbath. The best representative of the horrific Night of the Living Ballads zombies is the comically boring “My little man”, complete with a collection of quirky guitar effects and bad lyrics. Likewise, the hypnotically redundant mud-groove song “Thunder Underground” represents almost all of the heavier tracks on here. With the exceptions of Zakk’s solos, which occupy between 15 and 25 seconds in each song, there isn’t much of worth on here.
After suffering through all of that, if you haven’t torn the CD to pieces, we are treated to some final moments that are inspired. “Mr. Jekyll Doesn’t Hide” shows Geezer Butler trying to salvage a pretty lousy album with a solid Sabbath-like tune, it’s essentially something that could have been heard on “Cross Purposes” or “Dehumanizer” but with Ozzy singing, but it rocks nonetheless. “Whole World’s Falling Down” is a speed track that almost could compare to “Secret Loser”. It was probably not included on the album because of the public bias against the speed metal tendencies of the 80s. Likewise, “Aimee” screams mid-80s power ballad, probably the best ballad I’ve heard out of Ozzy and tragically something overlooked in most quarters.
Unfortunately I can not endorse this album because there isn’t enough quality material on here; this is probably the lowest moment in Ozzy’s rather turbulent solo career. If you can track down the single for “Perry Mason” and for “Back on Earth”, you’ll have everything on here worthy of hearing. For downloading purposes, add “Mr. Jekyll doesn’t Hide” to your list, and leave the rest of the rot on here to dissipate into nothingness.