Kelly Osbourne is mostly known for being the foul-mouthed younger daughter of Black Sabbath front man, Ozzy Osbourne. After shooting to stardom from staring on the family’s MTV reality show, The Osbournes, Kelly decided to branch out into singing in 2002. Her debut album Shut Up! didn’t create much buzz despite a (somewhat decent) cover of Madonna’s Papa Don’t Preach, and Osbourne took a brief musical hiatus until 2005, when she released her sophomore album, Sleeping In The Nothing.
Just a glance at the pictures in the liner note tells you that Osbourne has changed her image. Besides slimming down quite a bit, Osbourne is presented in glossy black and white pictures, and actually appears to be classy- a drastic change from the Kelly Osbourne known for wearing risque outfits and spouting out the “F” word at every second. But her physical appearance isn’t all that’s changed with Sleeping; withLinda Perry (P!nk, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani) as the writer and producer, her sound has also changed from grunge-rock to 80’s sounding electro beats.
The album begins with One Word, a synth-heavy upbeat track. It’s already been established from her first singing debut that Osbourne doesn’t have an astonishing voice. Her range isn’t anything remarkable, and though she does have a nice tone, she doesn’t seem capable of anything vocally that would make her stand out. However, the opening track seems to play up to this fact- she sings the verses simply and a catchy chorus (“It’s not the way that I want it/It’s the way that I need it/Day after day”) brings the song to life.
Uh Oh follows and starts off with loud guitar, setting the mood for another fun and upbeat song. Featuring lyrics about heartbreak (“It’s so strange watching you out with all your friends/With the disgust that you pretend when I walk on by/You’re everywhere treating me like someone you don’t know/But then you call me on the phone to tell me goodnight”) Osbourne delivers the song nicely, conveying the anger she feels yet seeming sympathetic at the same time.
Red Light is a bouncy dance track that sounds reminiscent of some of Madonna’s earlier work. While the lyrics aren’t anything worth paying attention to (which is the case with most of the songs on the album), a catchy beat and another fun chorus makes the song a favorite on the album. Following with a similar sound is Secret Lover, another lively dance track. Osbourne actually quotes a line from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (“I want the world/I want the whole world/I want to lock it all up in my pocket/It’s my bar of chocolate”) and despite making no sense in the context of the other lyrics, is still a cute addition to the song.
Don’t Touch Me While I’m Sleeping is the most controversial song on the album, and is probably what earned the disc the Parental Advisory label. Despite the cheery melody, the lyrics are about date rape. While I’ve seen this subject addressed in several other songs (this song seems like a parallel to Sublime’s classic song, Date Rape), it’s nice to see the matter from a girl’s point of view. More importantly, Osbourne doesn’t play the victim in the song- she’s angry and defiant and wants to get revenge on the guy that raped her. Although lyrics like “So don’t touch me while I’m sleeping babe/I’ll just wake up and break your neck/It won’t be worth the price you’ll pay/This will be a date you’ll never forget” are far from poignant, Osbourne still shows a strength that is admirable.
The rest of the album keeps up the dance/80’s theme, though the other tracks are less memorable. I Can’t Wait is a mid-tempo ballad, and though Osbourne’s voice is nice, the track lacks anything to make it stand out. Edge Of Your Atmosphere is a peppy song (with clapping in the background to boot) that’s nice to listen to, but ultimately forgettable. Suburbia sounds like a rejected B-52 song, and Save Mehas too much production going on for me to listen to it all the way through.
The album comes to a close with Entropy and a dance mix of One Word. The first of the two starts off with another fun electro-pop beat, and Osbourne’s voice is again pleasant during the chorus and verse. The Chris Cox Club Mix of One Word is decent, though I’m not a big fan of mixes tacked on the end of albums. For the most part, they usually tend to be unnecessary and insanely long, and this one is no exception. Clocking in at 7:55 minutes, the track honestly could’ve been left from the album and just sent to clubs instead.
Sleeping In The Nothing continues with pop music’s current theme of 80’s throwback albums (Gwen Stefani’s solo debut is another), but it seems to work well for Osbourne. Linda Perry also does a great job of balancing Osbourne’s limited vocal range with catchy beats, making for a decent album of fun dance tracks.
1. One Word
2. Uh Oh
3. Red Light
4. Secret Lover
5. I Can’t Wait
6. Edge Of Your Atmosphere
8. Don’t Touch Me While I’m Sleeping
9. Save Me
11. One Word (Chris Cox Club Mix)