Single Review: Kelly Osbourne “Papa Don’t Preach”

Papa Don’t Preach
Album: The Osbourne Family Album/Shut Up
Year: 2002

At the peak of the Osbournes’ fame, they were praised and criticized for their modern family values, multiple lines of products bore their logo (bathroom, t-shirts), and Ozzy’s children began to reap the benefits of newfound fame. Jack guest starred on an episode of Dawson’s Creek while Kelly released an album.

Kelly’s version of Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” finds her as bratty and spoiled as her television persona. Loud, noisy guitars set a defiant, argumentative tone. Kelly’s got her mind made up and she doesn’t want her dad to tell her no or she can’t do it. (“Papa I know you’re going to be upset/’Cause I was always your little girl/But you should know by now I’m not a baby”). The muffled voice suggests distance. They aren’t close at all. It also means lots of Pro-Tooling was involved to make Kelly’s voice sound decent.

She butters up her dad (“you always taught me right from wrong”) and asks him for help. She says although she’s young, she knows what she’s doing. (“I need your help, daddy…I may be young at heart/but I know what I’m saying”). Except she’s doesn’t. She’s a know-it-all 18-year-old in trouble and her father is the last person she wants to tell. However, everyone else probably backed out or said no. Now, he’s the only person left to ask.

She shouts it was the bad boy who her father didn’t want to her date, as though she faults him for the mistakes she’s made (“the one you warned me all about…we’re in an awful mess and I don’t mean maybe”) They have a problem which is not really talked about this time around. Is she pregnant? Apparently not. She’s out shopping and trying on clothes. Are they living together and in debt? Possibly with her buying out the mall’s stores every weekend. It’s the only other issue plausible which makes a little, itty bit of sense.

Regardless of what he says, she’s still going to date her boyfriend and demands that her father not yell at her. (“But I made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby, oh/I’m gonna keep my baby, mmm…”).

She and her boyfriend are talking marriage to help solve their problem. (“He says that he’s going to marry me/We can raise a little family/Maybe we’ll be all right/It’s a sacrifice”). She brags that she has snagged him. However, she brushes off the fact that her life will change and all the problems will go away. Her friends don’t want her to get married (“my friends keep telling me to give it up/saying I’m too young I’m ought to live it up”). She asks her dad for some advice but what she really means is money (“What I need right now is some good advice, please”).

She’s trying to convince her dad to help, but he’s not buying her act and won’t help them.(“Just how good he’s been treating me/You’d give us your blessing right now”). At the end, she threatens her dad to keep loving her (“don’t you stop loving me daddy/I know I’m keeping my baby”).

In Kelly Osbourne’s version, the entire song is turned into a childish tantrum in which she wants her only her way. She’s using her dad to solve her unknown problem and not bothering to listen to his opinion.

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