Written by Thomas J @ThomasJ_
Photos from music video Ex For a Reason
On her second album, Summer Walker continues to showcase how talented she is as an artist, turning tragedy into triumph.
“Tell me what’s changed. Is it my status, is it my fame? Is it my pockets, is it my change? Is it my pride, is it my body?” The answer is all the above. For an artist whose early aesthetic was heavily steeped in mystery, Summer Walker reemerges from the shadows with a new body, a new baby, and a brand-new album.
Still Over It, the highly anticipated sophomore studio effort from the Atlanta singer turns relationship woes into R&B gold. Arguably the most talked about star of her genre, Walker has consistently delivered painstakingly relatable and unflinchingly personal music. Her transparency and vulnerability make her a revered figure for mainstream listeners and is refreshing for an artist struggling with social anxiety.
Walker’s very public break-up with ex-boyfriend, and producer, London On Da Track–who she recently had a child with–make up most of the album’s content, with Walker bluntly asking “London, did you screw this bitch for real?” on opening track “Bitter.” The song ends with straightforward advice from Cardi B, in what seems to be a voicemail message sent the day Walker’s pregnancy leaked. “Don’t let these bitches feel like they have a one up by destroying your moment… if you are pregnant and everything, say it in a beautiful way in your music. Put that drama in your music.” Cardi asserts. And Walker took those words to heart.
The first line uttered on Still Over It is “better stop playing with me,” and everyone who Walker was referring to should have listened, as her daughter’s father, his ex-girlfriends, and mother are all the subject of the singer-songwriter’s acrimony on the 20-track LP. Whether it be “Broken Promises,” “Ex For A Reason,” or “4th Baby Mama,” each track pulls you deeper into the personal aspects of Walker’s life. “I wanna start with your mama, she should’ve whooped your ass / Know you ain’t shit, but she don’t care ‘cause you lit,” she sings on the latter. It's this show of candor that fans love about Walker. No coincidence that "4th Baby Mama" is the album's bookend, as it feels like a declaration of the 25-year-old definitively stating that she is over it for real–and over it for good.
Photos from music video Ex For a Reason
It’s clear that Walker fell entirely out of love while recording, as she excoriates London on [most of] the tracks he produced, which is an interesting dynamic. Justifiably, the songstress expresses a range of emotions with intense honesty, forcing her to experiment with new sounds. As soon as the instrumentation starts on "No Love,” it’s evident that this is going to be something different. The delicate, yet hypnotic vocal styling on this masterfully crafted track allow both Walker and guest star SZA to complement one another harmoniously. "Constant B******t," and it's spacy 'trap & b' production offer the most striking moment, with Walker emoting her frustrations and airing out London's transgressions. “Throw It Away” borrows it’s vocal stacking and harmonic dexterity from the likes of Brandy, while “Circus,” and its many clever references, builds on the late 90’s/early 00’s sound that’s present in a great deal of Walker’s music.
Thematically, Still Over It is a more focused record than its predecessor. Yes, the second half can feel a bit too chill, lethargic almost; like a long monotonous song. However, the album has a captivating storyline and offers some of Walker’s best work yet. This album may not instantly connect with diehard fans of her debut, but this project feels like it’s primarily for the artist who made it. During a very difficult time in her life and career, she found strength and freedom in the one thing she does best–music.
Album standouts: “No Love,” “Throw It Away,” “Reciprocate,” “Circus,” “Constant B******t,” “Screwin’,” “4th Baby Mama"