As summer closes to an end, Atlanta up and coming starlet Summer Walker comes out with “Over It”, a sensual, magical, R&B debut album that perfectly encompasses the new millennial love story: messy, confusing, on the down low and a game of back and forth. She writes lyrics of heartache, yearning and mind games. Her raw and honest interpretations of said dilemma explore the sphere of learning how to navigate a relationship in the 21st century, an age of instant accessibility but filled with fronted feelings.
The album opens up with the sassy, addictive title track that channels major 90’s R&B vibes. Her diction and tone is vivacious and pompous, with a s**t load of attitude, describing a woman who knows her worth: “You say you ’bout it, you say you got it planned (Oh)/I really wasn’t tryna listen/You say I ain’t got no discipline (Oh)/And that there why I wasn’t listenin’ (Oh).”
On “Body,” sampled from 702’s 1996 hit “Get It Together” and produced by London on Da Track, Walker sings an internal back and forth dilemma of contemplating whether to stay or to go. The fleeting night keeps presenting all these situations that are forcing her to decide between her emotions or her reality.
The lyrics here are intertwined in a jumble, and fittingly so. Walker’s alluring vocals drag you into a daze, climbing up and down the scale, furthering painting the image of indecisiveness. It’s also important to note that Walker’s voice doesn’t just adhere to the melody, as it does in other songs on the album. (“Potential”, and “Tonight”). Aside from the musical genius, “Body” is just an all-around summer anthem, perfect for late-night drives down I-75, and my personal favorite.
Throughout the album, Walker chronicles the hardships of being in a relationship. On “Playing Games,” featuring Bryson Tiller, Walker sulks at her partner’s indifference towards her, telling him that he isn’t doing enough to show his love. In the chorus, Walker cleverly reworks the classic Destiny’s Child track “Say My Name” and molds it into her own style, singing: “So won’t you say my name, say my name?/If you claim you want me, it ain’t no thang.”
Bryson Tiller’s velvety voice comes in after Walker’s soliloquy, but only for less than 30 seconds. Personally, I would’ve enjoyed it if Tiller’s feature was longer since it’s been a hot minute since he’s released his own album. But the genius in the song is that his lyrics answer to Walker’s futile cries, promising her more than the other guy ever could: “Me, I’m never actin’ shady/You will always be my baby.”
Very much contrary to its title, “Fun Girl,” is a mellow, acoustic, raw, unedited studio track, featuring Walker’s voice accompanied by an electric guitar. Though honest and heartfelt, this song is a waste of space and isn’t artistically appealing or interesting to listen to. The laziness of this song just kills it for me-, the whole thing sounds like a long and drawn out moany breath. The lyrics themselves portray an insecure and contingent person, “I remember what you told me/Said I wasn’t made right.” Walker’s narrative of unrequited love is universally relatable, but if the guy is clearly not cut out for you just leave it. The lyrics are lazy, production is lazy and the arrangement is unappealing and boring. Pass for me.
If you’re looking for more interesting guitar chords and arrangements, “Off of You” is a much better selection. Produced by Arsenio Archer, who is also the mastermind behind Walker’s hit song “Girls Need Love,” it features Walker’s airy singing voice, which to be quite frank, is her most pleasant voice to digest. In this song, Walker’s voice leads the song, rather than the other way around (“Drunk Dialing…LODT”, “Stretch You Out”, “Me”). Fittingly, her lyrics also sing about her taking control of a situation and leaving the relationship for good: “I ain’t gotta cry no more/ ‘Cause I’m off of you.”
“Just Might” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR sounds eerily similar to Drake’s 2016 “Jungle.” Walker tunes into her guttural voice, which slurs through the melody, making the song a bit of a drag to listen to, similar to “Fun Girl.” That’s not to say her more guttural songs go unappreciated because her biggest hit to date, “Girls Need Love” does this amazingly. PARTYNEXTDOOR’s feature is the saving grace of this track; his mellower tones dilute Walker’s guttural tune. Like I said before, the song is a bore to listen to, and I’d only listen to it if I was driving and I couldn’t reach the shuffle button or something. Not by choice.
“Stretch You Out” featuring A Boogie Wit A Hoodie is the literal auditory representation of eating a pink Starburst. It’s bursting with flavor, loops on a crazy good melody and the bass booted rhythm wrap everything together perfectly. Describing a dysfunctional relationship, Walker vocalizes her frustration towards an ungrateful boyfriend who is taking advantage of her. “You never wanna clean up/And you talk to me like s**t.” Candidly speaking, the song could’ve done without A Boogie Wit A Hoodie’s feature. His jarring singing voice may compliment more hyped up rap tracks at best, but isn’t the best candidate for a slow jam like “Stretch You Out”.
6LACK features on “Like it,” which begins with choppy organ notes; an unconventional but surprisingly tasteful arrangement. Walker reminisces: “Can’t nobody give it to you like that/ I’ve been rewinding all the flashbacks.” The song tells the story of being infatuated with someone, and not being able to get enough of each other. 6LACK’s more nasally voice balances out Walker’s higher range of notes, which gives her a chance to focus on emphasizing her lyrics rather than slurring her words (‘Just Might,” “‘Me,” “Tonight”).
While “Like It” expresses the physical pleasures of being in a relationship, “Nobody Else” explores the emotional growth from learning to love. The song marks one of the more interesting melodies off the album, featuring chords found often in Japanese City Pop from the ’80s. Having the metronome clocking in the background, Walker’s layered vocals draw the listener to a hot, starry Atlanta summer night. Walker expresses the frustration and discord that happens when you’re in love, but also her leap of faith in trusting and continuing to grow with this person.
Overall, “Over It,” has Walker’s mesmerizing voice meticulously exploring the scope of the raw narrative of love in today’s age, chronicling the story of falling in love, falling out of love and the plethora of motions in between. There are some great sapping songs on here, for those late nights when you can’t stop thinking about the one.