Friday, January 23, 2004

#94) Kelly Osbourne - Shut Up! (released in 2002, purchased on CD that year at City Lights during my 1st or 2nd Annual Xmas-Money Pre-Pazz'n'Jop Last Minute Record Hunt)

I'm just as surprised as you are, folks. It's not like I expected the spoiled rotten scion of a drug-addled TV icon to create a smart and moving pop-punk classic with the help of Celine Dion's producer and a bunch of anonymous session shmucks named Power Pack. She did, though, and that she did is one of the more recent reminders I've had that all albums should be heard with an open mind, lest the peripheral aspects of an artist - hype, haircut, private life, what have you - interfere with your ability to hear the actual art.

Somehow the parties involved created a unique mixture of brash glam-punk and studio-shine melodic pop made further memorable by Osbourne's lyrical gift for capturing the exasperation and confusion of a person trying to sort out their own problems while dealing with serious interference from parents, boyfriends, etc. The soaring internal drama of "Come Dig Me Out" doesn't just live up to the standard set by Sleater-Kinney's Dig Me Out, Osbourne's single would have been one of that album's highlights if S-K had written it. She might not be capable of vocal acrobatics, but songs as joyfully withering as the title track and as endearingly sentimental as "More Than Life Itself" benefit from her amateurish gusto. Papa Osbourne provided more than his share of big-hearted, openly vulnerable hard rock with Black Sabbath, and Kelly has the skills to do the same. Hopefully we'll give her the chance.

(note: the album has been recently reissued as Changes with live tracks and an admittedly horrific titular duet with Ozzy. The original album should still be easy to find)

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