The Savage Animal 10.17.12 The Album Covers of Ozzy Osbourne
I sincerely feel my writing, blogging, and quasi-public rambles are winding down. I just don’t have it in me. The creative drive has been sucked out of me and all that’s left is this strange nothing. For years I’d put my best foot forward and reach for the stars. I don’t regret any of it, but there has to be a time to move on. That time is coming.
It’s not that I don’t want to be creative or that I have writers block. I could continue to spew out inane opinions for years. The “doing” isn’t my problem. It’s the reason. It’s not fun. I don’t find any enjoyment or fulfillment on any level writing or doing anything I’m known for doing to those who know me. It’s a lost cause.
I took a hiatus for a few weeks because I just couldn’t face pushing myself to continue to do what feels like hollow work. During that time I did a whole lot of soul searching and a whole lot of nothing. Instead of pretending any of my efforts matter, it felt right to “cut my losses” so to speak. Still, people kept asking me “are you going to write anymore?” or “are you done writing and producing?” I felt obligated to give myself a few writing assignments to see if I could get the “mojo” to jump start again. So I wrote and I wrote.
There is still no fulfillment. There is still no desire. There is still no reason. At this point, I have a mild resentment towards myself for spending hours writing internet content. Was it a waste of time? Sadly, it feels that way. I hope someone out there finds something of value in my rambles. I guess until further notice all of this can be considered my “farewell tour”. I have a pretty laid out schedule for columns that’ll at least get us through the end of the year. At that point, who knows?
Celebrating The Prince of Darkness! Ozzy Osbourne has been around since the 1960’s. Obviously, he started his career off with Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath is one of those bands that people throw words like “iconic” and “pioneering” around when talking about them. Rightfully so! After a while lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne would leave the band and go solo. From there, Ozzy has put out ten albums and tons of extras over the past four decades. These albums have provided the world some of the best metal tracks of all time.
I’ve personally had the pleasure of seeing the man in concert twice, once with Black Sabbath on a reunion show and once solo. Ozzy Osbourne, even in his worst days, still brings it. He’s a blast of energy and his stage show is still great. A lot of this has to do with playing around with his “Prince of Darkness” and evil persona. You can tell he doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he fully embraces his image with a fine detail.That detail expands to all aspects of anything with the name Ozzy Osbourne on it. One small part of this machine is the album covers. Ozzy has changed and evolved so much over the past thirty years that checking out the album art is going to be a fun time. That said; let’s take a look at the ten studio album covers of Ozzy…
Album: Blizzard of Ozz
Back in this time frame a lot of albums had really great covers and you’d get to appreciate them because the album LP cover was so big. This 1980 Ozzy cover is no different. Ozzy is dressed in religious garb as he holds up the cross. Is he going to swing it at us or is he holding it back in terror? I’m not quite sure. It’s an interesting cover though. The little things like the skull and the cat on the floor only add to the occult message that I’m sure the artist was aiming for. I know it’s not Ozzy’s best cover, but there is nothing bad to say about this one. This kind of stuff should be framed.
Rating: 8. 5
Album: Diary of a Madman
How can you not show bias to an album that contains “Flying High Again”? This album cover always creeped me out as a kid. It was just too much to process. For an image to have that much effect is pretty cool. Ozzy is a beast-like creature… with tassels. He stands in an exaggerated pose as a child reads what I assume is his “diary” in the background. The setting is weird too. It’s a dungeon/castle looking place with an upside down cross hanging back on the wall. While it made me uncomfortable as a kid, it’s a pretty cheesy looking cover. The detail is there and I appreciate that, but what the hell is up with the tassels?
Album: Bark at the Moon
The spree of “fine art quality” covers continues. Ozzy again puts on a costume. This time he’s a wolf or dog like creature. The image here is a dark sky with a well-lit full moon in the background. Ozzy is perched on a tree branch with a crazy fanged expression on his face. It’s well put together, but a little underwhelming. The cover has the evil thing going on, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. At least if it did, it doesn’t hold up nearly twenty years later. It’s still not bad.
Album: The Ultimate Sin
Wow. I hate the overuse of the word “epic”, but how else can one describe this album cover? This is rock and roll art. The cover is heavy on reds and blacks. The reds are mainly the lava covered and flamed out hell. Ozzy is a creepy winged creature with claws and pretty nice hair-sprayed hair. He seems to be taking orders from a woman in heels with evil red eyes, flowing hair, and a nice ass. This is a really cool old school metal cover. I know it’s a beautiful painting, but I’m not totally unconvinced that Ozzy didn’t pose for it on one his random trips to hell.
Album: No Rest for the Wicked
I really like this album cover. In a black and white photo Ozzy sits on a evil and decrepit thrown looking forward and dignified. Surrounding him are three young girls, presumably slave girls. One is screaming at him, one looks angry or scared, and one looks happy and content. It’s a really intriguing photograph. The detail of the first two covers is definitely there again. The actual lay out of the photo on the cover is cool too. I dig the leathery reptile texture and the faded out reds. When I think of old school album covers this style is what I dug the most.
Rating: 8. 5
Album: No More Tears
One of the best Ozzy tracks, in my opinion, is Mama, I’m Coming Home. I remember it being one of the first Ozzy songs I heard as a kid that really stood out for some reason. As I got older I’ve learned that it’s because it’s a great tune and Lemmy Kilmister co-wrote that shit. Of course it’s going to be great. This isn’t about one specific song though, it’s about the cover. The cover is another solid and different artistic take on the Ozzy Osbourne image. It’s an artistic and mainly brown and white colored shot of Ozzy in a side profile. His oh-so well groomed hair coves his face. There is a small wing coming from his back. It’s not a bad cover; it’s just a little bland compared to the others. Even if it was going for a nice subdued and softer look, it’s just not that memorable.
Ozzy’s last album of the 90’s had a pretty weird cover. It’s weird, but it’s also fascinating to stare at. It’s all black and white with red text. It doesn’t mess around with anything hidden. The weirdness of this design is right there in front of you. A man with open hands looks to the heavens as we see mouths and eyes layered on top of his strained or praising body. I re-read that sentence and it kind of blows my mind too. The mouths kind of remind me of the “Give It Away” video by the Peppers. This album cover is not reinventing the wheel or anything, but it’s not bad.
Album: Down to Earth
Ozzy would return to scene in 2001 with another hit album. The cover is intense as the influence of more modern design technology is showing up. It’s hard to really say what’s going on in this really interesting piece. It looks like a man who is spread out in a crucified manner with a white glow coming from behind with blurred faces demonstrating a rapid shake. This is all assumption. I have no idea what is really going on here. I just know it’s cool looking. You want to keep looking at it and taking it in. You want to figure it out and put meaning behind it. At first glance this isn’t that big of a deal, but the more you look at the more you appreciate its surreal aspect.
Album: Black Rain
This album had a few bad ass tracks on it that lived up to the best of what Ozzy has put out. If you haven’t checked it out, you should! The cover is top notch, especially for 2007. It has the same “fine art” sense as the old school covers. Ozzy comes onward with a pained expression on his face with his hands open to feel the black rain. Behind him are blazing fires, ruins, and the grayest of evil skies ever. Is Ozzy pained by the carnage or feeling guilty because of it? Is the cover saying that Ozzy is going to live forever? Fingers crossed!
Ozzy’s latest release has another great cover. After all of these years, Ozzy’s album covers still have a huge stance of detail. Ozzy stands on top of what we’ll assume is a mountain with a black flag and angel wings. He points outward as if he’s commanding his army to attack. The black flag and wings make it a little confusing who his “army” is. Then again it’s Ozzy, he has fans all over.
What is YOUR favorite Ozzy album cover?
When I saw the trailer for this movie I really wanted to see it. Patton Oswalt plays a Scoutmaster of a troop of kids who just aren’t into it. They’re more into their phones, video games, and all of that normal stuff. Oswalt’s brother, Johnny Knoxville, is the exact opposite. He’s successful, obnoxious, and is more into devices and playing than the kids. The kids side with Knoxville and decide to not go on a camping trip. Oswalt freaks out and pretty much kidnaps the kids and takes them into the woods for an unapproved camping adventure. How bad can it be? Patton Oswalt is proving to be a really solid actor with “Big Fan” and “Young Adult”. He was already a funny stand up and had some good stuff in his random TV spots. It’s just cool to see him kick ass in the independent film world. He is a very likeable guy and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable on screen. That can result in some good honest stuff, and it does in this movie too. This isn’t as “gritty” as the other two movies I already mentioned, but it’s just as entertaining. Johnny Knoxville does really well as the obnoxious brother. He’s always a likeable guy in interviews and a lot of other things, but here he’s just an overbearing douchebag. All movies like this need one of those and he does well with it. His cohorts are fun too. Rob Riggle is always hilarious and if it had to be his last, Patrice O’Neal had a great spot showing off the natural charisma that’s going to be missed. Maura Tierny is there, but her role doesn’t call for too much. Darrell Hammond too. He’s there and you think he’s going to have a bigger part, but outside of a good line or two it’s not much. A little more from both would have gone a long way. The kids were all fine. I’m sure a couple of them will end up being familiar faces in time. The cast wasn’t huge, but it was well put together. It was such a short movie though at around 80 minutes. In a lot of the reviews and previews I’ve read it is compared to “Meatballs” and “The Bad News Bears”. I kind of/sort of get “Meatballs” because of the nature tie-in, but it’s still kind of pushing it. Is it because the rag-tag group is vulgar? That’s lazy. It reminds me of that Daniel Stern movie “Bushwacked” from the 90’s, with a little Shelly Long “Troop Beverly Hills”, mixed with a little bit of “The Passion of the Christ”. All respectively, of course. If you get a chance to see this movie I think you should. It’s a good balance of silly vulgar, over the top devices, and indie-riffic fun. B+
Every so often Denzel Washington reminds us that he is Denzel Washington. He’ll make some weird action type of movies or some feel good stuff and then BAM! He busts out the dramatic chops that make him one of the best of all time. He brings a screen presence that is pretty much untouchable. In this movie he plays a commercial airline pilot who is faced with the feat of flying and landing a damaged plane carrying over hundred people. He is deemed a hero by the most of the world while being under scrutiny for things he did before the flight. On top of the fact that Denzel is getting a good juicy acting role there is plenty about this movie to take in. Robert Zemeckis is directing and the supporting cast includes Don Cheadle and John Goodman so we should expect this movie to not suck. I hope no one is expecting “Training Day 2” or anything, but this will most likely be a good one.