In her debut studio album “Over It,” Summer Walker shows her range as an emerging R&B artist exploring complex themes such as love, loss and relationship struggles. Across 18 tracks, Walker rides off the same sexually confident message of her 2018 studio EP “Last Day Of Summer,” delivering tracks spanning the range from fun, powerful bangers to slow, soulful ballads.
The 23-year-old Atlanta native hit the music scene with a bang with the release of her 2018 hit single “Girls Need Love,” establishing herself as a bold R&B singer exploring sex, love and relationships from a female perspective. The popular track was widely praised and received particular commendation from Drake, with whom Walker recorded a remix of “Girls Need Love” featured on “Over It.”
Prior to the release of her new album, Walker released two lead singles, “Playing Games” and “Stretch You Out” featuring A Boogie wit da Hoodie. Sampling from the Destiny’s Child anthem “Say My Name,” Walker integrates the iconic chorus into “Playing Games” to ask her partner for more public attention and acknowledgement.
“Stretch You Out” represents a radically different postbreakup mood, in which Walker disputes her past lover’s claim that she did not commit enough to their relationship. The two singles established early on Walker’s intention of spreading confidence among her female listeners and reminding them to recognize their worth.
In “Over It,” the opener and title track on the album, Walker powerfully addresses her partner to let him know his neglect has gotten out of hand. She immediately establishes herself as a woman who will not sit back and wait to be given the attention that she deserves, setting the theme that will carry through the rest of the album.
She explicitly furthers this message in the following track, “Body,” in which she asserts she could easily find another man to replace him but confesses she still feels an emotional connection that cannot be so easily severed. This combination of undoubted love and demand for reciprocation reappears in the songs “Anna Mae” and “Nobody Else,” encouraging listeners to express their passion for the ones they love.
Despite the confident tone of the tracks early in the album, Walker also conveys her vulnerable side and confesses she is not always the strong woman she makes herself out to be. She admits and confronts her insecurity that she is not desirable in the raw, unedited vocal track “Fun Girl” and in the postbreakup track “Off Of You.”
In the two-part track “Drunk Dialing…LODT,” Walker first laments the experience of drinking and calling her ex and then changes tone to a ballad about, once more, her one-sided relationship. The raw emotions Walker explores are resonating and relatable, a creative departure from the inspirational sermons for which she is known.
In the several big-name collaborations on the album, Walker affirms her talent as a rising star and her ability to hold her own. Walker draws inspiration from R&B icon Usher’s 1997 song “You Make Me Wanna…” in her collaboration with her fellow Atlanta native on the track “Come Thru.” In a testament to her creativity, Walker makes the track her own by integrating modern R&B sounds and altering the narrative on unfaithfulness to fit her ode to self-worth.
Walker also collaborates with Jhené Aiko on the track “I’ll Kill You,” declaring her fiery passion for her lover is so strong that she would kill for him. Other collaborations include the upbeat track “Like It” with her former tourmate 6LACK, the insecure confession “Just Might” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR and the extended version of “Playing Games” featuring Bryson Tiller.
Walker embodies the essence of R&B as she takes on the passionate highs and heartbreaking lows of relationships throughout her debut album. Without falling into the trap of letting her foundations in R&B fall away in favor of elements of pop, Walker demonstrates her ability to bring ingenuity to her music by combining old R&B rhythms and themes to fit her own narrative and style.