Recently, it felt as though R&B had made a comeback with moodier albums like SZA’s CTRL, Solange’s When I Get Home, and Ari Lennox’s Shea Butter Baby impacting the charts over the last few years. Sadly, since then, it has appeared that the trend had been losing steam. Then on Friday, the world was blessed with Summer Walker’s Over It. Most R&B heads have more than likely been pining for a very long time for an R&B album like this — one that truly encapsulates the emotions the genre is all about.
Next to Summer’s previous release Last Day Of Summer, Over It maintains the same authenticity with major growth and cohesiveness, though the latter is more original in sound and less commercial. Nevertheless, Drake’s feature on the remix to “Girls Need Love” might sound a lot more appropriate here.
Before Summer released Over It, only three tracks were made available for play: “Playing Games,” “Girls Need Love Too” featuring Drake (which was also a staple on her debut mixtape Last Day of Summer) and “Stretch You Out” plagued by A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s perc-laced vocalization. Honestly, his feature is one of the only deficiencies Over It holds, which is pretty good considering it is a collection of 18 songs. In fact, it’s probably one of the more relatable hymns on the project.
The unanswered Facetime call on “Drunk Dialing…LODT” really hits home. The Lenny Williams-sampling “I Love You” follow-up is also soul mover. On “Come Thru.” Summer really lays her velvety vocals all over a sample of Usher’s breakout hit “You Make Me Wanna”: “Can’t you see I’m f*cking trying? / You want p*ssy six times a week / And you never wanna clean up / And you talk to me like sh*t / And you handle me too rough.”
The melody and instrumentation on “Potential,” another relatable hymn, is so hypnotic it deserves to be run back more than once. All a woman ever wants from a potential lover besides love itself is the act of transparency, Summer sings: “I’m not tryna be out here with my hopes up / If you all for me, then let me know what’s up / Don’t change up on me in the long run.”
An even more relatable song: “Fun Girl;” a stream of consciousness gliding across raw acoustics, echoing with the wonder of why a woman who knows what she wants is stigmatized with the “fun girl” title. “Life’s unfair,” she laments and it really is.
Summer also appropriately brings along Jhene Aiko for this ride. When “I’ll Kill You” picks up steam, Jhene starts to go off and I’m instantly reminded of the last time I felt like this: Sailing Souls. Summer Walker isn’t necessarily reminiscent of Jhene, however, there hasn’t been an album that resonates this deeply. The music invites a woman to just lie in bed, in the dark, with the music softly playing in the background, thinking about her sweetheart in a blob of unrequited emotions, then blocking them for a few hours or days — or least until she’s ready for more heartbreak.
Nevertheless, in an iconic swoop, Summer also brings all the R&B boys to the yard as well, from her LVRN label mate 6LACK to Bryson Tiller for “Playing Games (Extended Version),” which doesn’t nearly last long enough, and PARTYNEXTDOOR on “Just Might.” Also worth mentioning again, Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Usher on “Come Thru” comes on singing like it’s 1996.
On “Just Might,” the theme of Summer taking agency of her sexuality resurfaces with the tenacity of PND’s affable addition. Searching for real love seems to lead to nowhere — it’s literally a losing game, so you might as well get money. Especially, working in a strip club, like Follies as Party mentions, where making money is the focus and the assumption is “you just might be a hoe.”
Over It ultimately feels like the final blow to a more than likely toxic relationship that probably needed to end anyway — the mercy stroke to a dying relationship that has been difficult to let go. More than anything, Summer’s collection of songs shows off her versatility and ability to switch between pure R&B, soul, and more pop-influenced R&B. With Over It, 23-year-old Summer should soon be in the running with the names of Ariana Grande and Normani, as long as she keeps showcasing her musical talents and adaptability.
Over It is out now on LVRN/Interscope Records. Get it here.