Bob Lefsetz on No More Tears, the Last Great Ozzy Album
I would never have placed industry pundit and writer Bob Lefsetz as an Ozzy fan; he doesn’t write about much metal. But the man loves No More Tears, and he just published a lengthy (by blog standards) retrospective on it. Since both Axl and I share in the opinion that No More Tears was Ozzy’s finest moment as a solo artist — and since we couldn’t have said any of this better ourselves — here’s the Lefsetz piece in full. The only fault I can find with the piece is that Lefsetz could’ve heaped way more praise upon Zakk Wylde’s stellar performance on this record and his contributions as a writer… but, I get it, Lefsetz is more of a lyrics/songs guy. Anyway:
Rhinofy-No More Tears
The last good Ozzy.
He was lost after the untimely death of Randy Rhoads.
Then again, I’d be lying if I said I loved those albums when they came out. But after hearing “Flying High Again” every Saturday night on FM radio I suddenly realized I was a fan. That’s how I came to love Foghat. The incessant airplay of those tracks you thought you hated to the point where you realized you loved them! Kind of like Journey’s “Wheel In The Sky” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’”.
I actually threw out Ozzy’s initial double live album. I didn’t want anybody to see it in my collection. But when Jeff Laufer called me back in the fall of ’91 to get tickets to see the Ozzman at what was then called the Universal Amphitheatre, I decided to spin Ozzy’s latest offering, “No More Tears.” I was blown away. On this record alone Ozzy deserves to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. There’s not a single bum track. There are so many winners you just spin it in amazement.
“I Don’t Want To Change The World”
Start here. Forget that “No More Tears” was the single. “I Don’t Want To Change The World” is the metalhead’s credo…
I don’t want to change the world
I don’t want the world to change me
Life sucks. Just leave me with my music, it gets me by.
It’s fast like Metallica, it’s got a buzzsaw guitar that only appears in hard rock records, the kind that scares away those who don’t belong. And there are multiple changes and a screaming guitar solo and there’s an interlude in the middle you were not expecting that blows your mind.
Don’t tell me stories ’cause yesterday’s glories
Have gone away, so far away
Metal isn’t about the past, it’s about the present. That’s why it works. Nothing else matters…school, work, responsibility…the music crowds all that out.
And there’s even sarcastic humor:
Tell me I’m a sinner I got news for you
I spoke to God this morning and he don’t like you
Ha! Take that!
“I Don’t Want To Change The World” draws a line. You’re either on one side or the other. You like to bang your head or you’re a wimp. If this music doesn’t energize you, channel your anger and make you feel happy…put on your Carpenters records.
Also cowritten by Lemmy…
This is so deep in the album, you’re stunned. By time you hit track 7, the songs should lose their edge, kind of like the last half hour of SNL. Instead “Hellraiser” separates the boys from the men. Can you party all night? Do you never get worn out? GOOD, COME RIGHT IN!
I’m living on an endless road
Around the world for rock and roll
This is what we all used to want, as late as 1991, when this album was released. To travel with the band. Feel the music, feel the groupies, getting high and ragged, living the life. The bankers may have money, but they ain’t got this.
Check out Lemmy’s version. It’s not as good, but it’s still special. Ozzy sings better, but Lemmy’s voice has character.
Meanwhile, the way the track breaks down and gets heavy at 3:35…this is what we LOVE about album rock. This feeling. Which seems to be completely gone from today’s landscape.
Not the best song on the album, which is like saying “Come Together” is not as good as “Here Comes The Sun,” nevertheless “Mr. Tinkertrain” is a fantastic opener, as good as any the Stones have employed in decades. There’s no pussyfooting. You’re right in Ozzy’s space, almost immediately. It’s dark, it’s dangerous…AND YOU’RE SO GLAD YOU OPENED THIS DOOR!
Your heart pulses to that bottom. Ozzy’s voice is so inviting!
“Mama, I’m Coming Home”
This is the kind of stuff Kid Rock cuts that crosses over to country today. But back in the last century, something this good could get MTV airplay, and “Mama I’m Coming Home” did. This is the Ozzy to close all those who think they dislike Ozzy.
“No More Tears”
The initial single. A veritable tour de force. The intro is a vibrating tuning fork of a sound that gets your attention and draws you in. And then it’s like a choir is singing in the background, you’re at metal church and finally your pastor Ozzy arrives, Zakk Wylde playing him on with a flourish.
“No More Tears” is more than seven minutes long and not a second of it is wasted. It’s like the anthem from hell.
Ozzy dominates, the change adds flavor, but it’s the raw sound of the instruments that blows your mind.
“Time After Time” & “Road To Nowhere”
Both ballads, both just about as good as “Mama I’m Coming Home,” you’re stunned there’s so much good music on this album as “Road To Nowhere” closes it. You’re worn out, wet with sweat, drenched and tired.
So we went to that show…
It was my first Ozzy experience. With him spraying the audience with water, leading them in a standing wave back and forth to “Mr. Crowley”…it was more than a concert, it was a religious rite. I was converted on the spot. I never said a bad word about Ozzy again. I took my nine year old nephew to see him at the Forum for his first concert. And Ozzy didn’t disappoint.
That was the “Ozzmosis” tour. And although the show was great, the album disappointed. Ozzy’s never come through since. He’s tried and tried and he keeps missing the mark. It looked like the special sauce was Zakk, but he couldn’t replicate the greatness…it’s like suddenly the Ozzman lost his path.
Then he went on TV and made a lot of money and ruined his career. Because suddenly Ozzy was owned by everybody, not just his hard core fans. Everybody knew he wasn’t dangerous, that was just an image, but now the Prince of Darkness was a two-dimensional character on the box and nothing chews up and spits out talent like television.
Ozzfest ran its course. Ozzy’s now reunited with Black Sabbath. And one could count him out, but I never will.
Because of “No More Tears.”
Rhinofy-No More Tears [Spotify playlist of the album]