The debut album from Summer Walker, Over It, gazes back to ’90s R&B and forward to the contemporary, offering a rich internal portrait.
Hailing from Atlanta, R&B artist Summer Walker has just released her debut album Over It, and it has gone on to have the biggest streaming week ever in the history of R&B albums from female artists.
The slow-burning 18-track release presents a myriad of human emotions; a falling in an out of love brimming with sonic references, all narrated in an intimate confessional style.
Playing Games – the first single released off the album back in August – combines acoustic guitar with trap beats for a seductive ’90s-tinged ballad. Referentially self-aware, the track pays lyrical homage to Destiny’s Child’s 1999 number one hit, Say My Name, when Walker sings, “So won’t you say my name, say my name/If you claim you want me/It ain’t no thang/You acting kinda shady/You ain’t been calling me baby.”
Drunk Dialing…LODT is a more wistful offering, dedicated to Walker’s producer London on da Track, who is also her boyfriend. Halfway through, the track fades out and a slow, Amy Winehouse-esque ballad takes its place, a wandering Rhodes piano giving the whole thing a feeling of lonely late-night melancholia.
Elsewhere, on Body, Walker samples 702’s 1996 track, Get It Together, and Come Thru uses the distinctive riff from Usher’s 1997 track You Make Me Wanna whilst also featuring the artist himself. Other collaborations on the album include Bryson Tiller, 6LACK, PARTYNEXTDOOR, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Jhené Aiko, and Drake.
But in addition to the pastiche of the album there is an undeniable modernity, with the bouncing trap beats that permeate the whole thing pushing it inevitably forward. And then there is the brutal honesty of it all, as on the latest single Stretch You Out, where she paints an intimate portrait of fracturing of love and domesticity:
“You never wanna clean up/And you talk to me like shit/And you handle me too rough/And, at the end of the day you got the nerve to bring up that bitch.”
Over It is a beautiful, spiralling journey – both sonically and lyrically.
Over It is out now.