Ne-Yo’s got it bad for a bad girl and that's not good: “All she wants to do is hurt me, she wants me to feel pain…she’s taken everything but my life and she wants that too,” on “Hurt Me.”

The mid-tempo song opens with an insistent rock beat that it quickly abandons for string fills before returning to them to lead into the second verse, then back into the strings. It’s a hypnotic, if somewhat, formulaic conceit, but what makes the track so memorable is the bridge. Over classic sounding, ‘7os melody lines, Ne-Yo’s voice swoops and soars over fairly mundane, Euro beats. He sounds so great , we’d like to hear him sing this tune a capella. He’s a compelling writer and producer (usually working with Stargate), but Ne-Yo also has a beautiful voice that he knows how to use to great effect. It's always smooth, even when the song takes a nasty turn.

As he deciphers the relationship, Ne-Yo realizes he may have created this beautiful monster. “I didn’t mean to do what I did…,” he sings. “Cold hearted, cold blooded…what have I done to you?”

Like previous single, “Beautiful Monster,” “Hurt Me” is on “Libra Scale,” which comes out Sept. 21. Also, similar to that track, which peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart, “Hurt Me” covers the same lyrical minefield about a woman who has grown hard to love at his hand. It’s too soon to tell if the new album will be as superb as the Grammy-nominated “Year of the Gentleman,” but it looks like it may give it a run for its money.