Summer Walker: Girl on the Rise


Photo Credit: Aiden Cullen

Maggie Mahoney

After the warm reception of her 2018 mixtape: Last Day of Summer and early 2019 EP: CLEAR, Summer Walker became a woman to watch in the R&B music scene. Luckily, as of October 4, 2019, the release date of her debut album Over It, Walker is back with lots of new music to appease her fans.

To provide some background, Summer Marjani Walker is an American singer and songwriter born in Atlanta, Georgia to an American mother and British father who eventually divorced. She is currently signed with LoveRenaissance and Interscope Records and is dating fellow songwriter: London Tyler Holmes (known as London on da Track professionally).

Her popularity is not to be overlooked either. During late 2018, she toured with 6LACK on the From East Atlanta With Love Tour. Later, in 2019, she was named an Up Next artist by Apple Music and quickly rose to the #8 R&B artist worldwide in Apple Music streaming.

Since its release, just a few days ago, Over It already has received a lot of media attention and praise. Varying in tone and conveying beautifully the tumultuous nature of relationships, the tracks on her most recent release feature a variety of prominent R&B artists such as Jhene Aiko, Usher, Drake and Bryson Tiller. Over the course of the 18 songs, Over It builds emotional resonance and fosters an experimental, collaborative space between artists within the genre.

The entire album exhibits an impressive musical and emotional range. However, the collaborative tracks in particular reveal interesting findings. Some of my favorites of the album include “Playing Games” featuring Bryson Tiller, “Come Thru” ft. Usher, and “I’ll Kill You” ft. Jhene Aiko.

The slow jam: “Playing Games” is produced in a way that conveys sensuality, however, the lyrics of the song, paint a sadder and deeper picture. In the song, Walker laments about her partner not giving her what she needs, singing: “All I ever ask for you to/Pick up the phone when you alone/All I ever asked was for you to/Show me some love, kisses and hugs” and then later on: “I’m just trying to match your words with your actions/I need more than satisfaction.” The song expresses a theme that listeners hear arise again and again in the album: love is painful and confusing.

“Come Thru,” featuring Usher has a decidedly nostalgic feel for more traditional R&B. Yet, its unique production done by London on da Track elevates it. By sampling Usher’s first major hit “You Make Me Wanna” from the ’90s within her fifth track of the album, Walker revises and adds her own twist to earlier genre influences and styles. Walker and Usher’s voices blend beautifully, especially during the chorus, creating an otherworldly and wavy feeling. They croon in unison over syncopated drums: “You make me wanna come through/Quarter after two/Just to put it down on you/You make me want to replay/All of the Things/That you and me, we do.”

“I’ll Kill You” appears deceivingly mellow at least melodically. Yet, the aggressive title and lyrics that drive the track unveil greater complexities. Walker and Aiko’s harmonies atop the spacey score have incredible resonance as they convey the possessiveness they feel over their loved ones and relationships. The ominous lyrics ring in your head long after the song stops playing. You’ll be humming along all day.

Summer Walker’s Over It proves there is beauty in the nuances and that you can hold the attention of your audience even over 18 tracks. The album relationships honestly, flaws and all. Revealing the mixed emotions and contradictions of Walker herself, Over It emphasizes the subtle complexities of being in love in a way that is widely relatable. If you want to feel captivated to the very end, this album of subdued and contemplative love songs is for you. Over It is available to stream on Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music. To learn more about Summer Walker and her upcoming tour, visit her website.