Summer Walker’s debut studio record Over It, without question, catapults her into the ranks alongside sharp singer/songwriter contemporaries like Ari Lennox, SZA, and H.E.R.
Its brand of sluggish and sultry R&B drips of strip club vibes, crafting clever music that feels sexy, yet vulnerable, frustrated and fierce. The album’s first single, “Playing Gamesm,” featuring Bryson Tiller, is the perfect showcase for that songwriting style, as she voices frustrations over the men who refuse to acknowledge her existence in public and social media with an interpolation of Destiny’s Child “Say My Name” for the song’s hook. “So won’t you say my name, say my name?, If you claim you want me, it ain’t no thang / You acting kind of shady, You ain’t been calling me baby.”
The album opens with a testament for Over It’s overall themes: “Am I really that much to handle?” Over a sharp snap and sluggish instrumental, Walker assures herself that she’s not the issue, it’s everyone else. Her voice practically pours into the beat, melting in between London on Da Track’s drums with the texture of melted butter. Further embracing her flaws, “Just Might” sees her join PARTYNEXTDOOR over a drippy ballad of strip club love, assuring herself that she “just might be a ho,” as men continue to drop her without question.
The OVO stalwart croons over the sloppy beat, lusting for Walker with skepticism, asking “Shawty’s been stripping for so long, how long do she think it could go on, without her fuckin’ anybody?” To avoid internalizing the pains of love denied, she rejects it herself and accepts love for what it is: a losing game. “Seems like you gain more from a sugar daddy or a drug dealer,” she reasons, wholly embracing her stripper career with fast cadence.
“Come Thru,” another standout track, finds Walker deliver a clever interpolation of the ’90s Usher hit-single, “You Make Me Wanna…,” and even enlists the singer himself for a lusty second verse. The Jhené Aiko-assisted “I’ll Kill You” sees both women defend their partners against other girls through petty threats. Another sign of Walker’s fierceness is seen on “Me”, as she sings: “You make a bitch have to go in her purse”. These tales of sex and aggression are as honest as they are entertaining.
And in case her vocal talents aren’t clear-cut enough, “Fun Girl,” sees Summer Walker on an unedited field recording, playing an electric guitar and singing into a microphone from what seems to be her bedroom. She reflects on rejection, alone, beautifully wailing over her guitar as background noise from the streets outside is picked up. “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.” Later, she denies the notion that her own powers are her setbacks, dishing back criticism with own questions. “Is it ’cause I know what I want just like you?, ‘Cause I make my own money and my own moves?”
It’s not solely Summer Walker’s sensuality and controlled croons that sells Over It, but it’s themes of heartbreak, love, temptation, womanhood and frustration. The album owes some of its instrumental successes to current boyfriend and executive producer London on Da Track, but it’s indeed Summer Walker’s authenticity she sells on Over It that feels right at home with ’90s R&B, and adjacent to contemporary druggy Atlanta-centric Hip-Hop.
Summer Walker is unashamed, contemplative, and despite her debut album name, far from over.