December 6, 2002

Kelly Osbourne: Who Should Shut Up?

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One thing I’ve learned after a semester of Genetics (besides the fact that fruit flies are the vilest creatures in the world) is that you get half your DNA from your father. Kelly Osbourne must have a mutation somewhere in whatever genes determine musical ability, because her new album, Shut Up, certainly doesn’t sound like what one would expect from the offspring of the man who gave us songs like “Paranoid.”

Osbourne sounds like a punk rock version of Avril Lavigne (yes, that’s right, since Lavigne doesn’t qualify as punk rock despite what MTV tells you) from the album’s opening track “Disconnected.” Lyrically, the song doesn’t stray very far from Lavigne’s (although Osbourne co-wrote all of the songs on the album, instead of leaving a room full of forty-something men to do her job) with lines like “You used to be my happy ever after/ But now I know that nothing is forever/ You and me, was misery/ I pushed reset/ And we disconnected,” backed up by cheerful sounding guitars.

The rest of Shut Up follows this same formula, with many of the song’s riffs sounding indistinguishable from one another. Osbourne focuses only on relationships gone awry — in “Contradiction” she spends most of the song proclaiming “I love you, I love you, I love you/ I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.” Her rage toward the opposite sex is also evident in “Coolhead” when she sings, “You’ve got a reputation for being a lady’s man/ I’ve got determination/ For kicking your ass my friend.”

The album’s title track captures what seems to be Osbourne’s attitude towards everyone, with the lyrics “Shut up/ Don’t wanna hear your voice/ Shut up/ I’m sick of all the noise/ And there’s nothing you can say that means a damn thing to me.” This song — as well as all the others — display Osbourne’s lack of experience in the world of music as well as reminding the listener that it probably wasn’t very hard for her to get a record deal in the first place. However, despite being the daughter of one of rock’s most notorious frontmen, Kelly Osbourne has some qualities that many young female singer’s today lack — she’s unapologetic, she doesn’t care whether you like her or not, she’s not whining about the tribulations of being famous, and at least she has the nerve to move into the usually male-dominated world of rock.

Shut Up’s only ballad, “More Than Life Itself” serves as evidence that Osbourne’s voice is definitely better handling power-pop-rock than more vocally challenging pieces — the song is reminiscent of something one of the American Idol judges would tear apart. This song transitions into the hidden track, Osbourne’s cover of Madonna’s 1986 hit “Papa Don’t Preach” on which the singer/reality TV star is backed by Incubus’ Mike Einziger and Jose Pasillas. Osbourne gives the song an edgier, harder sound but it’s still hard not to realize who she’s singing to when she says, “Daddy, daddy if you could only see / How good he’s been treating me.”

Although Osbourne’s album shows little diversity, it’s obvious she has many more rock influences than other female singers popular today. And, sure, she may seem a little angry at guys in general — but do you think it’s easy getting a date when your dad is known for biting the head off a bat?

Archived article by Ariel Ronneburger