To put into perspective just how long it has been since Black Sabbath put out an album with Ozzy Osbourne, I had not even been born yet and I am old enough to remember when Dr. Dre started working on Detox. Really, when I think of Ozzy, I think of his cheesy power ballads from the lat eighties / early nineties. Which I guess is better than the generation or two that came after me who think Ozzy only as a reality star. But their reunion album 13 got me intrigued if only because it was being produced by Rick Rubin who may have the greatest batting average among producers since the band last released an album together. Unfortunately unlucky 13 is a rare swing and a miss as it turns out sounding exactly what a bunch of sixty year olds playing heavy metal would sound like. A Johnny Cash redefining album that Rubin produced, this is not. And it is mostly Ozzy’s fault who sounds phoned in (anyone who saw his reality show probably knows why) even though Tony Iommi’s riff are for the most part still haunting as ever. I just wished Rubin pushed them more. The most intriguing song on the album is Damaged Soul where the harmonica sends the song into a bluesy direction before getting drowned out by Iommi’s guitar. I just wished 13 had more moments like that.
13 gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Back in the late nineties, electronic music became such a big fad even Eric Clapton and R.E.M. were making albums that relied heavily on drum machines. At the same time, Barenaked Ladies were enjoying their biggest success creating music more organically. Fifteen years later we are in the second electronic boon and the Ladies finally jumped on board with the trend on their tenth studio album Grinning Streak (depending how you count them). They never drop the base or any of those other annoying trends in EDM these days, but the album is easily their more electronic embracing to date. Well that is primarily the opening song Limits, after that all the hints of electrics are tempered down. The rest of the album may have been more interesting if it were more like the opening track. And despite the title Grinning Streak, the trademark wit the band usually has is once again downplayed. I always thought the token rapper Ed Robertson was the fun guy in the group, but ever since Steven Paige has left the group, their album as much less fun.
Grinning Streak gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.
Tom Petty once sang about the ups and downs of being a rock and roll star during Into the Great Wide Open and one line that always stick out to me is when he sings, “their A&R guy said ‘I don’t hear a single.’” That line comes up occasionally when I listen to albums like the last Jimmy Eat World album. Invented was good, but nothing on the album really stood out as being particularly great. Same goes for their latest Damage. You are still getting a solid ten song, which really does not add anything new to their catalogue. But alas I do not hear a single worth downloading and if you already own Bleed American and Furtures, you really do not need to add Damage to your library.
Damage gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.