I know the rest of the die-hard Ozzy fanatics will likely chastise me for giving this album only two stars, but let’s face facts. “Down to Earth” is easily Ozzy’s worst album EVER. Compared with his previous efforts, it’s very uninspired and unoriginal, the only saving grace being the always excellent musicianship of his backing band.
Now, I’m one of the biggest Ozzy fans I know. I see him in concert every time he comes around Southern California, I have all of his albums, bootlegs, etc… Maybe that’s why I hold him to such a high standard. From another artist, this album may have pulled three stars or better. But from Ozzy? Come on… First of all, when the only standout track on your album is a carbon copy clone of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, you know you’ve got issues. All of the metal tracks sound the same! There is not one memorable guitar riff on this whole album. Think back to Ozzy’s previous efforts. With the exception of maybe a few songs on “Ozzmosis”, every track on every album had its own identity and a very distinct guitar riff, whether it be “Crazy Train”, “Fire in the Sky”, or even “AVH”, for Christ’s sake! Everything on this CD sounds like generic sludge metal; the stuff you’d hear on “alternative modern rock radio” any given time of day. Come on Ozzy, you once said that part of the reason Black Sabbath failed in the end is because they started sounding too much like bands they themselves had influenced. You’re sounding too much like bad Soundgarden…or God forbid, Nickelback!
The lead-off track, “Gets me Through”, is a relatively boring sludge-rocker, with no real punch. With it’s diminished piano intro, it sounds like a mundane version of Ozzmosis’s “Perry Mason”; a far superior opening track. Then we get to “Facing Hell”, probably the best rocker on the album(although the alternate version on “Prince of Darkness” is WAY better). And then there’s “Dreamer”, that John Lennon song I was talking about. It’s actually pretty good, and like I said before, Ozzy’s ballads usually steal the show, but I just wish his Lennonesque influence wasn’t so obvious. I mean, he pretty much steals “Imagine” line for line… (ex:”Your higher power may be God or Jesus Christ/It doesn’t really matter much to me/With out each other’s help there is no hope for us”…etc.)And the rest of the stuff blends together for the most part. “You Know, pt.1″, is pretty interesting(from what I’ve heard, it’s an ode to his daughter from his first marriage), but it’s too short. Where’s “pt.2″?
In all fairness to Ozzy, it is hard for any artist to stay dynamic and awe-inspiringly original after so many years. But it’s a guarantee that the next time Ozzy does a solo tour, he’ll be using his good-ole tried and true set list, the one that dips heavily into “Blizzard of Ozz” and “No More Tears”; and he’ll leave all of this stuff behind. And if he does make another album, don’t enlist the likes of Dave Grohl to help you write it! You’ve got Zakk Wylde…use him! Or Jerry Cantrell, or Mike Inez, and most of all, Ozzy himself! Leave the crap to Nickelback and the White Stripes…