We gave it a C+
Given that his recent albums haven’t been hugely successful — or, for that matter, any good — it’s hardly shocking that Ozzy Osbourne is taking his TV money and running (or perhaps shuffling). Arriving only three months after The Osbournes debuted on MTV, The Osbourne Family Album is as cobbled together as one would expect. It’s a mix CD that sounds as if it was burned by someone who’d taken too many Vicodin.
On this strangest of hodgepodges, each Osbourne got to select a song or three. Sharon picks Eric Clapton’s sappy ”Wonderful Tonight” (Oz would play it for her before their dates) and the Cars’ ”Drive” (it reminds her of daughter Aimee, who declined to participate in the show). Tellingly, Jack tosses in a cut by Dillusion, a dreary nu-metal band he’s promoting as part of his nascent record-exec career. Kelly, who appears to have the best taste in the household, opts for a live version of Starsailor’s ”Good Souls” and throws herself into a too-obvious punk-metal remake of ”Papa Don’t Preach.” Ozzy selects several of his own songs, including last year’s ”Dreamer,” a majestic (for him) ballad whose lyrics, originally written about John Lennon, could now apply to his home life (”Without each other’s help/There ain’t no hope for us”).
As in the show, the message is clear: The family that rocks together stays together. (The record is dedicated to Aimee, as if to make sure she doesn’t feel left out.) But the album doesn’t transcend its shameless cash-in feel. Maybe the Osbournes are saving their full-on creativity for all the other tie-ins they’ve signed off on while the getting’s good, from books to underwear to action figures. The disc’s only unifying elements are the between-song snippets taken from the series, which serve to let listeners actually hear Ozzy and the gang say ”f — -” on the explicit version. But if you really crave ”Crazy Train,” buy Blizzard of Ozz instead.
Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix (the once-abbreviated Coby Dick) could probably stand some marriage counseling from the still-smitten Ozzy and Sharon, who hired Papa Roach as headliners for last year’s Ozzfest. At least two songs on the band’s second major-label album, lovehatetragedy, find Shaddix bitching and bemoaning—his wife doesn’t understand him, things are testy between them, and life in general blows. He’s even gone so far as to make one of these cuts, the bludgeoning ”She Loves Me Not,” the first single. On another groanfest, ”Time and Time Again” (Shaddix is clearly a sucker for the cliche), he details their problems from her supposed point of view. In ”Decompression Period,” he needs ”some space” to sort it all out, preferably as far away as possible. Given that the couple has a baby, maybe some Osbourne child-rearing tips would also be helpful.
I wish I could go into even more detail about the album, but in order to ”maintain security,” the band’s label, DreamWorks, allowed critics to hear it only via streaming from a special website (at least, that was the case by the time EW went to press). Compounding matters, the site’s buffering made the music cut in and out; I felt like I was listening to a vinyl LP that was constantly skipping. From what can be ascertained, lovehatetragedy downplays the rap-metal quotient of the band’s first album, 2000’s Infest, in favor of more brooding narratives, albeit set to the same type of meat-pounder riffs. They also remake the Pixies’ ”Gauge Away,” but technical snafus prevented me from hearing any of it. I was as filled with ire as Shaddix is. Wait a minute—perhaps that was intentional, the label’s way of making me feel his pain!
Papa Roach were fairly distinctive two years back, but in a twist we’ve witnessed many times before, the band that helped beget so much of the rap-metal grudge rock we’re now hearing resembles all its followers. (”Born With Nothing, Die With Everything” is such a generic song title for this subculture that it could be a parody.) Papa Roach also suffer in comparison with the purveyors of the new garage rock, who make nu-metal sound even more monumentally bloated than it did before. But don’t tell that to Shaddix—he doesn’t need to bring any more problems home from the office.