In 2018, I was first blessed with Summer Walker’s musical presence with her track titled “CPR”. Her warm and smooth voice crooning over romantic lyrics had me deep in my bag. following up with her other tracks like, “Girls Need Love”—which at the time, had me publicly admitting “I just need some dick, I just need some love!” and let’s not forget “Session 36”. A track that brought up some repressed feelings on some past boy problems. Yes, her music made me a proud member of the sad girls club– might I add, for no reason.
As her music ignited the attention she rightfully deserved, artists like Drake put his unwanted spin on her debuting single “Girls Need Love”. In my honest opinion, we didn’t need that remix. Drake… is cool and all… but we didn’t need his input on a track which respectively was meant to be an intimate, detailed and deep rendition on what it’s like for GIRLS* to crave intimacy. Of course, some people ate it up and were hyped. Looking back, this was possibly a foreshadow into what was in store for Summer Walker’s newly released album.
Before we get into her new album, let’s take a slight detour into Summer’s first EP, “Last Day of Summer”. The EP gave us so much soulful, vulnerable, and close looks into who and what Summer is truly about. Every song seemed to have this wide view story behind what she must have experienced, which had most of us related to. Her raw lyrics on the ups and downs of being apart of a perfectly imperfect partnership and made it okay to be a “sad girl”. Tracks like “Karma”, “Baby”, “Prayed Up”, “Shame”, and “Just Like Me” really moved her avid listeners. Summer brought a nostalgic while fresh sound to R&B! She attained more attention and decided to share more of her artistic creativity with her EP “Clear”. Unfortunately, “Clear” did not receive the same love as “Last Day of Summer”— which in my bold ass opinion separated the keen R&B listeners to the “empty listeners”.
Empty Listener– a listener who simply listens to music for the sound and not for the substance and weight the song proposes to deliver.
Summer gave us a long pause until we discovered that she began working with her current lover and producer London On Da Track. Summer Walker dropped her highly anticipated studio album “Over It” on October 4th. Her new studio album featured big-name artists like Bryson Tiller, Usher, 6LACK, PARTYNEXTDOOR, A Boogie with the Hoodie, Jhene Aiko, and Drake. Naturally, I was relatively excited about reading the tracklist… until I found myself analyzing how exactly half of those names could coordinate with Summer Walker (I.E. A Boogie with the Hoodie).
Straight to the point—I pressed play and instantly noticed something different. Naturally, her music still had my head nodding but it didn’t stick like grits like her past projects. She continued to give us her intimate themes regarding passions of desire, emotions, and soul but it was very blatant that this was not her “voice”. The artists featured on her album seemed to have a “gun to their heads”, providing a lack of substance. In my raw and possibly nerve striking* opinion, we did not need Bryson Tiller to extend “Playing Games”, his verse was short and he did not deliver the equal amount of emotion Summer was originally expressing. Glossing over the underwhelming verses from the additional artists, I was very disappointed in “I’ll Kill You” which featured Jhene Aiko; I assume I had super high expectations for these two women to be on the same track. I was praying for a “Triggered” (original track by Jhene Aiko) mixed with a “Session 36” in the terms of “Nigga-you-got-the-wrong-one-fuck-you-and-im-sad-now” route, but we didn’t get that… yes… my expectations were very high, but I as an individual will not die or go to jail for ANY nigga [chuckles]. On a lighter note, her best tracks on the album are “Body”, “Fun Girl” (on some conspiracy theory shit, she really was like “Nah, let me at least get this one track to my day ones”) I felt and heard the Summer Walker which had me obsessed from the beginning. We definitely cannot forget “Playing Games” which still held her authentic self with her relatable lyrics of pointing out the fuck shit in shitty relationships.
I feel as though she did her best to shine through the thickly concentrated mainstream sound she was ordered to provide us. I feel as though I can’t be upset with her, my point is that it is very apparent and unfortunate that the industry watering her down, making a huge attempt to make her appeal to the mainstream masses. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly proud that Summer Walker is hitting these huge milestones she rightfully deserves, she is an amazing artist! There is just such a huge contrast in what she gave us from the beginning to now. I also want to clarify that I am not discrediting her HARD WORK, it is not easy to appease to the masses all while trying to somewhat keep your original sound. One of my friends told me that she made this album for the “Clout Depressed” and I couldn’t agree more… I hope after Summer Walker’s “First and Last Tour” she releases some independent or underground work where she’s being her authentic self again. I am genuinely happy that her album is getting the attention it deserves, but I am disappointed that “they’’ made her alter herself… if you know then you know. At the end of it all, I wish Summer Walker all the best in her budding career and she deserves all the great things that will come out of this!
Clout depressed: people who are only sad on the internet. [B. Marte]
Thank you for reading!
I am very aware that artists go through growth periods within their careers, where they experiment with new directions and sounds, but I did not sense that in this project. This project was overly controlled by someone other than herself. If the album was a masterpiece to you, cool.