Summer Walker is the ultimate truth-teller and that’s her appeal. Her lyrics break down the awkwardness of love in the digital age and describe in detail the contradictions of wanting affection while needing to stay away from superficial love because it’s unfulfilling. Rather than always settling for the worst from her partner, she needs a deeper kind of love. That’s Walker’s candid confession on “Over It,” which becomes an overarching theme throughout her debut album. The album triumphs because Summer Walker doesn’t sugarcoat her emotions or the situation she is in. She’s blunt and it works in her favor.
In the album, she shares her misguided decisions that lead to the most toxic feelings of sh*tty self-worth. “Over It” is a musical version of those “What-should-I-reply-with?” and “Are-they-even-worth-it?” conversations that we have with ourselves. The album examines the need for affection but the awkwardness of desiring it. Genuine connection isn’t the motive anymore, making sure you don’t catch feelings is. It’s a weird space that leaves many people caught in a confusing spiderweb of emotions, and Summer Walker is one of them.
Summer Walker knows what she wants, and she makes it clear on the opening track “Over It.” In the first two verses, Walker questions her worth in this weird, confusing spiderweb of love. She asks, “Am I really that much to handle?/Breakin’ these ni**as down like enamel (Oh)/Yet I’m ready to blow you out like a candle?” Even though she questions herself, she still knows her worth: “But I need a ni**a who can handle me (Oh)/I want a, a ni**a who can handle me, oh/Ni**a keep your hands off me.” She follows with, “All I ask for you to keep it trill (Oh)/All I ask for you to keep it real, real, real, real, real” Walker knows her value, and only wants the truth. That’s what makes Walker’s journey so special, because what she wants is what nobody is giving her.
Her unyielding nature can cloud her judgment over what trust and love are and as a result, she falls into toxic relationships. “Stretch You Out” featuring A Boogie wit da Hoodie analyzes Summer Walker’s grief over an abusive ex-boyfriend. Her relationship is emotionally catastrophic, her boyfriend constantly wants sex, he doesn’t clean up his messes, he roughly manhandles her, and he is always bringing up some other girl. When you have a partner who isn’t even doing the bare minimum but is physically and emotionally abusive, is it worth it? Summer decides he’s not worth the stress. When she takes the time to reflect, Walker finally decides that she’s over it. She’s done with dealing with the abuse, the dreadful relationship and a lousy partner.
But sometimes, when you say you’re over your ex, you’re not. That’s the problem Summer Walker faces on this album. She keeps telling herself she’s over it when she isn’t. On “Drunk Dialing… LODT,” Summer sings about a tale everyone knows too well: when it’s late, about 3:34 AM and you’ve had too much to drink and you call your sh*tty ex. She confesses that she misses him and combines that with misguided actions, making her feel like she wants him. However, Walker offers her two cents, she talks about the situation as if she’s learned from it. “Too much liquor known to make you call a ni**a…/ Make me think I want you when I don’t and I know this / Know that you a dog, you always do me wrong.”
Upon initial listen of the album, one might be turned away from the long tracklist. It’s been proven that longer albums typically help streaming numbers. Summer Walker broke streaming records with “Over It,” garnering 154.7 million streams in its first week, making it the most-streamed album by a woman.
Her bluntness will have you pausing songs midway, and asking yourself “did she really just say that?” Yes, yes she did. It’s easy to say the album could have worked better as an EP, but the 18-song tracklist allows the listener to collect emotional inventory and empathize with Walker. Songs like “Potential” and “Nobody Else” reveal Walker’s tender emotions a soft pillow to land on. It’s a buffer between Summer’s crazy taunts.
Despite her not-so-perfect relationships, Summer still ponders over her ideal romance with someone loyal. Her commitment goes so far that she proclaims that she’ll kill someone who comes between her and her man. On “I’ll Kill You” featuring Jhené Aiko, they both sing how deep their commitment will go, “I’ll go to Hell or jail ’bout you, boy/I’ve been waiting so long for a love like this.” Summer Walker’s commitment doesn’t falter, and she begins to grasp the concept of getting someone to reciprocate that loyalty too. That pushes her to move on. She begins to prioritize herself, and on “Me,” that idea comes full circle. The title is fitting for a song like this, which showcases sass, pettiness, and self-advocacy in Summer Walker style: blunt and unapologetic.
“Just Might” is Summer Walker’s goodbye to the stressing she’s done over sh*tty partners. The song encapsulates self-doubt over why her relationships end badly. “I just might be a ho/I swear, swear… / What am I missin’?/Always takin’ L’s every time.” At the end of the song, she realizes that people just want affection and sex with no strings attached. Summer Walker is unwilling to give that to people. She concludes that she can build a meaningful relationship without superficial love. She ends the song questioning love, singing, “So fuck love/I mean, what is love?” It may sound frivolous, but it’s true: What is love when it causes emotional heartbreak? It’s not worth it.
The album is the confession of a girl confused by other people’s questionable intentions. Summer Walker cuts through this mess of emotions confidently, slipping sometimes but ultimately learning from her mistakes. On “Over It,” Walker gets the late-night emotional heartache and swoons of love right. That’s her greatest strength, and what makes this album so unique.
However, what holds the album back is that it follows the current trend of 90’s-era production. Listen to “Come Thru” featuring Usher which features a sample of his 1997 hit “You Make Me Wanna…” Summer Walker’s interpolation of the song with Usher was incredible, but throwback production is popular to the point of being common in R&B music today. Overall, this album is irresistible because listeners can relate to their moments in bad situationships when they’re questioning their self-worth. Through Summer Walker’s journey, she lets all the heartbroken people know that they too can soon be over it.