The Architecture of Force: Part 2-Wild Pack of Family Dogs
Today I'm going to be doing something a little different, in that I'm going to be highlighting a piece of music I don't really consider to be "good", but still has a certain edge, a certain strength, that other songs like it lack. And once again, it's not because the music itself is good. No; what sets this apart entirely has to do with the context of who is preforming it.
Say what you will about the quality of his music post-Black Sabbath(bad) or his quality of character(low)-Ozzy Osbourne is the single most recognized, important individual in the history of heavy metal, and there will probably never be another one person as vital to the genre as he is/was. He's one of the very few metal musicians who's done the nearly impossible task of breaking into mainstream recognition-even people who don't recognize his significance as a musician know that he screams at his wife and kills animals for fun.
Ozzy has also gained a reputation for being something of a wraith, finding the best and brightest musicians to play in his troupe when they're young and casting them aside as quickly as he can find another talent to harvest(including the current lineup, in his almost 30 year solo career, Ozzy has had 10 guitarists, 10 bassists, 6 drummers and 7 keyboardists). Of those musicians, 2 have died-one from ulcers(Randy Castillo) and the other from being a coked-out retard who flew a plane into a house(Randy Rhoads), both of whom, now that I mention it, were named Randy. Coincidence?
Why do I bring all of this up? The man's career has been extensive, to say the least. He helped create the genre of heavy metal and has made a solo career that is successful to this day(even if it can be argued that the music itself ranges from "not very good" to "screamingly horrid"). He probably has at least a few hundred million fans, who know him from either his music, his debauchery, his television career, or all three. Ozzy Osbourne is 60 years old. His fans and his collaborators are legion.
The song "I Don't Wanna Stop" is, in a lot of ways, not very good, or at the very least there's nothing that really stands out about it, on first listen. But, as stated in the beginning, it's the context that makes this song kind of special.
The message is clear: "My enemies can eat shit and die. My fans can go get me a beer, and by Christ it had better be cold. My God, I am excellent." This alone, from a 60 year old man who could give half a fuck about what you think and has more money then the Franklin Mint, holds a certain charm, a way of making you wish that throne was yours. The presentation of this message, however, is something worth noting entirely by itself.
When Ozzy first left Black Sabbath, it seemed like he was trying to distance himself from their sound as much as possible-his haunted wail turned into more of a furious squeak, and the ultra low, heavy riffs that everyone was used to hearing back him up at the time turned zippy and upbeat at the hands of Randy Rhoads(possibly the most overrated metal musician who ever lived). In other words, he turned his sound into pop metal, and it sucked, especially in comparison to his earlier work with Sabbath.
With this song-and the whole album of "Black Rain", really-it sounds almost as though he's trying to return to his roots. Zakk Wylde(currently kickboxing with Nikki Sixx for Dumbest Stage Name) slams down riffs with a heaviness reminiscent of early Sabbath classics like "Into The Void" and Ozzy, once more, stretches his voicebox and becomes the ominous phantom he once was. It's as though the Ozzy Osbourne from 1972 wandered into the present just to say "Fuck you, I was great then and I'm great now and I'm going to live forever."
Because make no mistake, it's not just his present day band playing with him on this song. There's Randy Rhoads and Geezer Butler and Jake E.Lee and Carmine Appice and Tommy Alridge and Mike Moran and, if you listen closely, a little bit of Tony Iommi mixed in there too-not in the sound of the music, but in the spirit. Ozzy Osbourne has been the ringleader of a circus of some of the most talented musicians to ever walk the earth, and some mediocre ones as well, and even a few that were just flat-out not very good. Most of the music wasn't good then and in the future it's probably not going to get better.
But with power like his? With a seat waiting for him in the Pantheon? With that grin, and that howl?
It doesn't even fucking matter. Because in the song's own words, "You're either in or in the way."
It's Ozzy's world. Try not to fuck it up.