"Degradation Rules" is about men pulling on their "memories" and beating their "jewels," and there is absolutely no hidden innuendo in it at all.
Seriously, though, the song is about men masturbating. In addition to its (very) thinly veiled allusions, the chorus comes out and says it:
The song seems funny (and on one level, it is), but it also seems to have a serious message. Each chorus ends with the line, "Join the other fools." It also explains that the man in the song "used up all his energy" and is "addicted to debauchery."
Porn addiction is a serious problem in the modern world, as much fun as it can be to joke about it. Several modern studies have outlined the condition and documented its negative effects on both the user and the people in the user's life.
Ozzy's Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi played guitar on this track. He's not credited as a writer, but Iommi told Rolling Stone that he wrote the track, which he sent to Osbourne, who added the vocals.
The hand that feeds you also turns you blind, turns you blind
In older times, elders warned young men that masturbation would turn them blind. The ill-effects of the practice were explored throughout Pearl Jam's similarly funny-yet-serious Vitalogy album.
Along with Tony Iommi, musicians on the track are Andrew Watt, Robert Trujillo (of Metallica), and Chad Smith (of Red Hot Chili Peppers). Watt produced the album. Ozzy played the harmonica part.
Osbourne told Kerrang!
that Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins gave him the idea for the lyric. Hawkins played on three tracks on Patient Number 9
but died before the album was released.
"Degradation Rules" was the second single released off Patient Number 9
, Osbourne's 13th solo studio album. The first single was the title track