Friday, May 4th, 2018

Noah Kahan & Julia Michaels – Hurt Somebody

Well, you sure did hurt what was a very high-scoring day, so thanks Noah!


Alfred Soto: The history of duettists not sharing studio space is long and uncontroversial. What makes “Hurt Somebody” awkward as hell is way in which the lethargy of the singers doesn’t even produce a useful friction. The result is a celebration of passive aggression disguised as a gesture of empathy.

Scott Mildenhall: It’s as if Noah Kahan is possessed by the spirit of Mike Rosenberg: he’s a Passenger carrier. Perhaps it’s that which led him to forgetting that Eurovision isn’t until next week, such was his disarray. In those terms, this is the sort of forgettable generica that outdoes itself with an eighth place finish on the strength of the nice way the singers smile at each other. For that though, Julia Michaels would have to sound a little less tacked-on than she actually is.

Nortey Dowuona: Plinking, thudding acoustic guitars and empty drums sit unsteadily beneath Noah Kahan’s flat, unexpressive voice boosted by bland Vocaloid synths and Julia Michaels’s smooth, too expressive voice.

William John: A song with stock-standard EDM ingredients refined almost to paradigm, and featuring the refrain “’cause it hurts when you hurt somebody” came on over the gym’s PA system the other night, and at the time I’m sure it provided sufficient encouragement for me to finish off that final set of bent-over rows. Upon closer inspection I learned that this song was the Alex Adair remix of “Hurt Somebody,” and that its original version is, by contrast, extremely limp. Call it Stockholm Syndrome, but the listless guitar seems to actively repress the impact of the refrain’s weary warning, and has me yearning for Adair’s squawking breakdown instead.

Will Adams: Who knew Joel Little could sound this colorless? Noah Kahan and Julia Michaels might seem like a good pairing based on their similarly marble-mouthed timbres, but it saps any energy out of the simmering guitar plucks and apologetic percussion. It aims for pleasant but refuses to fully release, like a NESTEA ad for introverts.

Edward Okulicz: I had literally no idea there were Americans that sang with that mushy-mouthed manner so beloved by Brits who have no personality and try to affect one by doing horrible, horrible things to vowels, melodies, listeners and so much more. Julia Michaels’s addition theoretically adds something to the narrative, but not very much in actuality.

Iain Mew: On one hand, adding Julia Michaels turns the song into one about two people in a bad relationship both staying out of fear of hurting the other, which is a more compellingly tragic situation than just one. On the other hand, the two of them being carried along together so meekly, Passengers to the melody, further removes any sense of musical tension or conflict that might have done something with the narrative. 

Katherine St Asaph: If you think this lite codependent perk is tough to listen to, wait until you hear the inevitable following 53-minute breakup call.

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3 Responses to “Noah Kahan & Julia Michaels – Hurt Somebody”

  1. fun fact: no song by someone named noah has broken a collective [4]

  2. that’s a good thing to noah-bout

  3. no(ah)