R&B singer-songwriter Summer Walker has humble beginnings. Only last year she was working her own cleaning business; since then her life has shifted into superstardom. Her latest record-breaking release, “Over It” is a testimony to the state of her heart amidst these changes. It is her first studio album, produced by London on Da Track, where she has most recognizably collaborated with rappers Young Thug and Drake on tracks such as “Lifestyle” and “Sneakin.”
The album begins with a song of the same title, “Over It.” Its emotional overtones set the stage for Walker’s angsty, heartfelt way of communicating through sound. “Am I really that much to handle?” she asks herself as the album opens.
This is the attitude the singer maintains for the rest of her 18-track album, which is full of star-studded features from more mainstage artists such as Usher, Jhené Aiko and fellow Atlantean 6LACK. Preceding the album’s Oct. 4 release, Walker released a handful of summer hits such as “Girls Need Love” featuring Drake, and “Playing Games,” which sampled the Destiny’s Child classic, “Say My Name.” The album’s version of this song features Bryson Tiller, who lends his voice to the singer’s dramatic plea for her lover to “stop playing games.”
According to Genius.com and the Billboard 200 album charts, Summer Walker’s first studio album has earned “the largest streaming week ever for an R&B album by a woman in terms of on-demand audio streams.” This beats that of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album by about 20 million units.
Walker’s soulful singing voice collides with her disheartened lyrics, the unsure footing of her place in life and whether there is room for romance in changing times. On the song “Just Might” featuring Canadian artist PARTYNEXTDOOR, Walker deliberates on her relationship status and the true meaning of love: “Just might be a ho/ What am I missin’?/ Seems like you gain more from a sugar daddy or a drug dealer.”
Summer Walker has a diverse portfolio of R&B music, moving from the more bluesy end of the spectrum on her earlier 2019 EP “Clear,” to the more modern beats she croons over in “Stretch You Out,” which features New York rapper A Boogie Wit da Hoodie. However, her album fails to represent the variability of her artistry. The singer arguably loses authenticity from the autotune and other filters that cover up her voice throughout the album. This could be because of choices made by her label, Interscope Records, or production preferences made by the artist herself.
The most genuine sound comes from “Fun Girl,” which is backed up by Walker’s raw lyrics and the sound of her unplugged electric guitar. “I remember what you told me/ Said I wasn’t made right/ Said I wasn’t cut right/ That’s why I’m so lonely.” Her words give the impression that she is in emotional limbo, trapped between wanting to be herself and her lover’s expectations of being unable to turn “a ho into a housewife.”
Despite her album’s ups and downs, it is clear that no one can stop Summer Walker from speaking her mind and making history. Walker is set to appear at Silver Spring’s The Fillmore on Dec. 11 as part of her tour, “The First and Last Tour.”
Photo Credit: Natalie Murray listens to Summer Walker’s “Over It.” Art by Maxi Wardcantori.