Nine Muses' 'Hurt Locker' Hurts My Ears, Makes Me Re-Stan Sori And AOA
When They Danced On That Thing In The MVReminded Me That Sori's 'BIKINI' Slays
Boring Reminds Me How Much f(x)'s 'Electric Shock' Sucks
2.0Overall Score
Reader Rating 109 Votes

I gave AOA’s “Heart Attack” a somewhat negative review, but my feelings weren’t solely a result of the song alone. AOA’s unimaginative Son Dambi europop scrap disappointed me despite its catchiness, but it was the addition of their tired sexy cosplay concept and watching them writhe around on M! Countdown in Hello Venus’ “Wiggle Wiggle” outfits that sealed the deal.

However, now that I’ve heard Nine Muses“Hurt Locker” I’m starting to realize just how much I actually like “Heart Attack.” It may be an outdated formulaic Brave Brothers production void of any soul or creativity, but at least it has a good chorus. And a pre-chorus. And those trashy RedOne stadium synths that even music snobs secretly love deep down.

“Hurt Locker,” which also goes down the europop path, at least tries to spin the formula a bit, but it doesn’t work for me. It brings back memories of f(x)’s horrible electropop single, “Electric Shock, which is the only f(x) single (and album) that I can’t stand. Either do something totally out there or just give me a generic hook song. Don’t half-ass both and then expect me to stan.

But maybe it’s just personal preference. E.one, the producer responsible for “Hurt Locker,” was also behind KARA’s “Cupid”; a lot of people said that song was boring and lacked a hook because it was more subtle compared to KARA’s past records, whereas I found it interesting and hypnotic.

Plus, I seem to be in the minority of people who think “Electric Shock” is a pile of shit, and I’m sure I’ll be in the minority in hating “Hurt Locker” too.

Trust me, this is not how I wanted things to happen. I’ve been a Nine Muses fanboy since “No Playboy,” and I’ve stood by the group while they’ve dumped a goddess like Leesem for a bizarre looking thing called Kucumber. I also had high hopes for this comeback after the fantastic (but also polarizing) “Drama,” easily Nine Muses’ most inventive single to date.

Anyway, I don’t know what else to say about this. I hate it and I hate myself for hating it. I liked the music video though, so that’s something positive.

On that note, I’m going to leave you with Sori’s “B.I.K.I.N.I.” It has a similar guitar riff to “Hurt Locker” except it’s way better and would be the definitive summer jam if “Nice Body” didn’t exist. It also stars a young Sojin in all her pre-Muses glory.

  • Julian Jung

    I’m so incredibly saddened that you physically can’t stan this comeback! Get ready for lengthy ass comment everyone. For me personally, this was everything I never knew I wanted and much more. The muses ditched Sweetune to go for something more mainstream, and I think it’s probably going to be the most effective way to elevate them to higher tiers in kpop. Starting with the track, “Hurt Locker” is by far the BEST Summer comeback and most appropriate for the season, musically and visually. This is everything AOA and Sistar wish they could have delivered. It fixes all the mistakes “Shake It” and “Heart Attack” made with their lack of structure and over production/layering, respectively. The verses draw you in and let you know that this is definitely going to be a Summer song, and then we get the incredible build that is the pre-chorus. The chorus itself has so much flavor and positivity despite being a breakup track. Also, EUAERIN SLAYED HER RAP SOMETHING VICIOUS. Bora could NEVER, and all Jimin could deliver was some lame 3 second, tired sing-rap verse for AOA. If we need any credible critique for “Hurt Locker” just go view MRJkpop’s reaction video for this comeback. He perfectly breaks down and explains just how genius everything about this track is.

    Now for the music video … WHEN WILL SNSD EVER? Like you could NOT pay Taeyeon enough money to get her ass to dance on top of the cargo. Slay Muses are the true fearless dance queens. The choreo is once again difficult enough to really show what Nine Muses can do. I’m living for the pencil sharpening dance, like yas queens, take all of these other girl groups to school! I love the direction they took with the mv, and all of the solo shots were glorious. Like let’s take a moment to APPRECIATE NEW GODDESS KEUMJO in that bikini!! Like when that scene hit, my jaw dropped! In the live performances we really see what Keumjo brings to the table, because if you haven’t noticed her dancing skills before, now you can, and she kills it! Then there’s the new blonde dancing machine mother friggen JO SOJIN, the nations new doll like visual. Everyone on the comments thread of their first comeback stage has taken notice to her powerful movements. These two really rose to level of the other Muses and I’m ecstatic to see them fitting in much better now.

    The whole mini album is so good, and the intro “Muse” really brings the energy. There isn’t anything I disliked about this comeback, and honestly, as a whole, this is their best release to date. This could set the stage for them to hit number one status for their next comeback if they stick to this mainstream sound.

    • Db

      I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. I’m even impressed with Kumdrop/Sera 0.5 this time around. She really stepped up vocally!

    • mjm5822

      You pretty much just said all of that perfectly. I’m loving this comeback and I can’t stop listening to the song. If it wasn’t for such heavy competition this may have been their first #1. I also really enjoyed MRJkpop’s critique.

    • ADW

      Love this, your so right about the next comeback, it’s so strong.
      They need to play it like a fart, wait until no one else is around and then release it.
      Going against everyone else has helped show the ability to stand up against some of the competition but next time it’s all about timing!

    • Nana’s Disco Stick

      the only disappointment i’ve got is the lack of skull in their dance practice – its basically a trademark of the muses already

    • vandellas

      People like to assume a lot of Taeyeon. I’m pretty sure she would. CMIYC happened, twice, after all.

  • Julian Jung

    Also, Queen Sori’s “Dual Life” is the greatest thing she’s ever done, but “Bikini” is her most underrated gem without a doubt. I can’t help but think Stellar’s “Mask” was inspired by it, seeing as the sing-speak verses are so similar to the sing-speak verses in “Bikini”.

    • Db

      She did release a Chinese single called Bittersweet which was pretty good. I don’t know why we never got the Korean version.

  • lildarien

    This post almost made me join the Beyhive… that’s strike one.

    • Nicole Naeun

      SCREAMING! Pls join us :)

  • 9m really had their best lineup around ‘wild’ *deep sigh*

  • Db

    I’m so disappointed in you Jacques.

    To claim that the song doesn’t have a good pre-chorus and chorus is preposterous. To say that it hurts your ears is even worse! Listen to the instrumental version of the song and you’ll see that it’s miles ahead of the mess that’s known as Heart Attack.

    I also find it strange that you’re giving so much praise to Drama, which is probably their most bland and least impactful single to date. I have faith in you that you’ll see the error of your ways and come around just like you did with Cha Cha.

    • Quang Phạm

      I immediately fell in love with Hurt Locker on first spin, unlike Drama, which I always find lacking and boring.

      And I can’t imagine how this and Electric Shock are even similar. Electric Shock is straight up generic and tired, while Hurt Locker is just uplifting and full of energy.

      • lucinda veen

        I agree with every part of this comment.

    • Drama isn’t bland at all if you look at the structure, vocal arrangements, and the production. It’s more mature though so I was surprised it did as well as it did, but I guess they have a lot of fans in their twenties. But yeah not surprised more people prefer the standard europop song of course. Although if a boy group did this most ppl would say it’s another generic boy band dance song lol, but coz it’s nine muses everybody loves it.

      • Db

        I would have to disagree with you on the production for Drama. It’s flat and goes absolutely nowhere. The fact that it opens with the two rap sections only makes the problem worse. The energy level just keeps dropping all the way through and the song even feels like it fizzles out at the end. I like the song and I sometimes play it on repeat, because despite all it’s faults it’s still good. That said, it’s far from being their best. In fact, I’d lump it in with those 2 songs of theirs that are best left forgotten.

        As for the production on Hurt Locker, I wouldn’t call it generic at all. In fact, it does exactly what I find was wrong with Drama. It brings the drama! It has energy! The verses are fantastic. The pre-chorus dials back the beat to let the vocals shine and lead into the explosive chorus. This song makes me happy. It sounds uplifting and positive despite the lyrics being sad. It makes me want to drive on the open road in a convertible and let my hair fly in the wind, just like the girls do in the video.

        I’m not just saying this as a die hard Nine Muses fan. This song is an A+ and has everything I could ask for in a pop song.

        • The fact that it opens with the rap breaks and finishes so suddenly is why it’s so good!!!

        • roelm

          “In fact, it does exactly what I find was wrong with Drama. It brings the drama! It has energy! The verses are fantastic. The pre-chorus dials back the beat to let the vocals shine and lead into the explosive chorus. ”

          Definitely agree with this. I actually find “Drama” interesting structurally and it hints at some promising future directions for Namyu. However, the energy level is an issue.

          As to “Hurt Locker”, it may be a bit generic but I find the verses and pre-chorus quite good! I also love the “ecstatic” chorus vocals overlying the club beat, the effect of which is a bit like that in Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”.

          Perhaps, in the future, they could combine the trademark Namyu funkiness with “Hurt Locker”‘s energy level.

      • hyowhitebabe

        I agree, Drama is really good. That organ instrumentation is LIFE! and the arrangement is interesting.

    • Julian Jung

      I really wanted to like this comment lol, but I’m so conflicted about the last part! I actually really loved Drama as well, and think it’s one of the most genius tracks of the year. But I do respect your opinion and taste in music!

      • Db

        I don’t hate the song. See my reply to Jacques for more details.

  • T-rollypoly

    I won’t even read this because the title is blasphemous enough. All I can say to you is no Jacques, No. ;p

    Anyway, If you don’t like Hurt Locker, you can still listen to the classic Namyu w/ the b-sides: A Guy Like You/Someone Like You, Fancy and Yes or No. The first two sounded just like Sweetune to me and Yes or No is just like Paper Scraps and Living Person.

  • Ricardo

    I don’t know why but I’m in the minority with you. I love the vocals and rap but the sections of the song are very robotic and instrumental doesn’t suit the voices, I feel very disappointed. Gsd, save this summer.

  • KingBeaArthur

    This seems to be our summer of disagreement! I loved ‘Brave classic’ “Heart Attack” and was lukewarm on “Shake It” originally (I’ve grown to love it), but this song was instant for me! Just different enough from 9M’s past catalog to shake it up, with just enough of their signature juice to make it an earworm.

  • Grant Williams

    The stanning for Drama which is Namyu’s third worst single.
    The Hurt Locker hatred
    The slamming of Electric God. I really can’t with Jacques right now. Praying for you!

  • Paul S

    I’m a bit shocked you didn’t like this. I loved “Drama” too, but I think “Hurt Locker” is a cut above-and the chorus is a huge part of why. After the verses, it wasn’t the chorus I expected at all and it really added that extra bit of pop pleasure for me. And now I can’t get the damn thing out of my head!

  • Leonardo Henrique

    I dare to say that Hurtlocker is on some T-ara level of iconicness and you, you OF THEM ALL BETRAY ME LIKE THAT?
    I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU
    WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU!

  • yosafbridge

    On a related note, they made sure their male fanbase would really really want to get the 92 page photobook that comes with the album :

    http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/2236/2111/original.jpg

  • Lady

    Well, I sadly agree with you. It isn’t too bad of a song but compared with their Sweetune days, it’s a disappointment. Still, I personally think it’s not their worse single (That crown still belongs to ‘No Playboy’ and hopefully it will stay there)

    I have a horrible feeling that, even though now they’re switched from producers and raised in popularity because of it, they will further decline in quality in music aka Infinite…Only time will tell.

    But all in all, they’re still one my favorite girl groups and they all look stunning in the mv.

  • MIKEE

    I’m legitimately angry about this post tbh. I’ll be waiting for your lengthy apology post, need I remind you of Rainbow Blaxx Cha Cha?

    Oh, and how dare you place Hurt Locker on the same level as Electric Shit!

    • haha same here.

    • Honestly listen to Electric Flop and Hurt Eardrums side by side and there’s lot of similarities lmao.

      Cha Cha is such a different song to this, it’s more like Drama where it could be easy to overlook its brilliance. I went into Flop Locker with a very open mind coz I’m a hardcore Nine Muses stan but it’s just not my style. I can’t wait until you give me a lengthy apology post once you remove the stan goggles and realize that this is Electric Flop Part II!

      • MIKEE

        You have disappointed us all Jacques. I suggest you sleep w/one eye open tonight because the masses are not pleased.

  • ADW

    Wash your mouth out!?
    YOU WILL COME ROUND TO THIS COMEBACK!
    If you have stanned from debut, you abide by a contract to painfully stan anything from the Muses and learn to love it as you know Daddy Star Empire will be dick slapping the Muses until they hit big.
    We made it through the talented Sera leaving and even when Kyungri first joined with the “blonde” hair” serving Bangkok Ladyboy Realness, I thought these would be the end but they still fought back and with a decent song.
    When I first saw the double denim and heard the song I wasn’t sure either but live performances and THOSE Fanchants were amazing.
    Now I love it, the next release will be amazing, I can’t help but feel the ladies need a fierce concept to really hit a home run. After School Flashback esque?

    • Nana’s Disco Stick

      they do need fierce to hit big but a Flashback-lite is a bar too high to reach even with pur muses. i could go for a Wild 2.0 or maybe a they could go all out EDM with a Sugar Free non-fat track

      • ADW

        Tbf SNSD or After could have easily released Hurt Locker. Okay maybe SNSD is at a push and those queens could do better but we all make mistakes, MRMR. They really should do a song like Rupauls Sissy that walk, with the whole runway theme going on.

      • Hurt Locker basically is Flashback lite already, or Electric Flop part II, or an SNSD Japanese single. Mines needs to face the facts already and stop convincing themselves that this comeback is a masterpiece! @disqus_7iSXn0z6Td:disqus

        • ADW

          From reading your previous reviews, I have changed my mind on so many things..
          CLC were not a total flop and I love plus size Queen Sorn. Because of your coverage.
          I never even noticed ‘Other’ was even in 4minute until you pointed her out now I
          want her blood.
          Stellar.

          And you do me wrong like this?
          You keep the kids..I’m going to Thailand to spend your child support on Ladyboys. @arcadey

  • T-rollypoly

    To the people arguing about “Drama”, FUN FACT: “Drama” is the same composition as “Living Person”, the composer just made the tempo faster for “Drama” & of course changed the lyrics. Play “Living Person” on 1.25x speed and you will hear “Drama” especially in the chorus.

  • Nana’s Disco Stick

    and like all the songs Jacques has trashed but most of us like, i pray goddess Kukeumber blesses him and make him rectify the errors in his reviews like Jaekyung did for Cha Cha…

  • ByronZ

    Sistar & AOA wish they released this song as their comeback.
    The song itself, the choreography, the muses’ style, everything is perfect <3

    Also, I was not sure about Keumjo in "Drama" but the moment she appeared in that iconic bikini and her voice of course, I think she's starting to fit.

  • vjx89

    How can’t u stan this comeback??? It’s their best single ever!!!! I was hooked from the first listening.

  • hyowhitebabe

    I kinda get why jacques would hate hurt locker and love drama. It is a derivation from their Namyu sound. This group has a signature funky sound that they have maintained so well (same feel but never too repetitive) and seeing them sell out like that with an EDM track just doesn’t work for him (just as how Electric Shock was the ultimate f(x) sellout). Hahaha!

    But I still love the song tho it’s really not on the route of Namyu’s discography. The intro really slays…and some of the tracks are really classics (A Guy Like You is like Drama’s Choice which is GOLD). Overall, this is actually a slightly better effort than Drama (that bland 9/11 ballad at the end killed it for me). Just let them give a pass for selling out full blast this time. THEY NEED IT! XD

    • You’re like the only person to understand where I’m coming from with this LOL

      • hyowhitebabe

        lololol, all boils down to preference tho. maybe the biatches here are so not used to you bashing namyu but the hell right? XD

    • roelm

      I am sure you have just described the feelings of a significant number of fans in the first paragraph but combined with the qualification you have stated in your second. I too have mixed feelings about Hurt Locker although I still think it’s a good songs and not that big of a deviation from their signature sound. I just console myself by stating that it’s in the tradition of “News” and “Wild”. Historically speaking anyway, EDM descended from disco. Drama by contrast is in the line of “Figaro” and “Dolls” but my main problem with it is the lack of energy and the signature Namyu fierceness. I just hope they return to their signature funkiness in the next single!

      • Hyoyeon: The White Babe

        Hahaha, even though you put it in the line of News and Wild, it’s really still far from what they usually sound but whatever works. And yes, it would be great if they returned to their signature sound in the next single because this selling out is tanking in the real-time charts (can’t see it in the top 20 on melon) although it had a great debut. :S

        Hopefully sales would increase than Drama because the budget for this comeback feels so all or nothing and that’s scary! I don’t want to do the curtain call for Kumdrop yet…andwaeeee!!!!!!

  • calvitron

    Nine nopeses is just no for me. just no. i legit can’t find even one of them to stan for. they’re as unoriginal as their name. as is the song.

  • Darwin

    I am so sad that Nine Muses did this to themselves. They had such solid record. Even “No Playboy” is lightyears ahead of this mess. I didn’t even download it.

  • Nicole Naeun

    Jacques was def too harsh on this one, Hurt Locker is not bad but is way too safe for the always edgy Nine Muses. They were once the ones that bring Figaro, News, Dolls, Ticket and all other gems into our lives.
    Hurt Locker is not bad, but it’s way too safe of a choice for 9m. It did not deliver anything, which is why it fell boring to me. I might listen to it in the future once or twice, but I won’t be playing it all the time a la Figaro News etc.

    Side note: Jacques u tasteless flop, Electric Shock is timeless classic!

  • ana_ruse

    You’re so full of shit, this is their best so far!!! I absolutely adore this song, as well as many of their previous songs, 9Muses really are so underrated, their comeback as way better than AOA’s and Sistar…I’m dissapointed to hear such rabish about a great song. If this song would had been given to SNSD, Sistar, AOA or other overrated group, it would have been a major hit, trust me!

  • Sharing

    Fantastic “drama”… article lost all credibility.