still over it

Reviewer Jake Dodohara gives "Still Over It" four out of five stars, and the 20 tracks dedicated to break-ups and relationships add Walker to the "Sad Girl Autumn" lexicon.

Reeling from the success of her critically acclaimed debut album, “Over It,” 25-year-old R&B singer Summer Walker finally released her follow-up album Nov. 5, aptly titled, “Still Over It.” 

Walker has faced her fair share of public controversies throughout her career. Most recently, her on-again, off-again relationship with music producer London on da Track — who she has a daughter with — has been the subject of public scrutiny. With the pair constantly dissing each other on social media, Walker has infamously called London the “baby daddy from hell” on Instagram. In a statement to Apple Music, Walker encouraged fans to listen to the new album and “learn from [her] mistakes” and to not “settle for less.”

Along with being romantically involved, Walker and London are creatively and professionally linked, with London producing and co-writing the majority of Walker’s debut album. Their creative partnership has continued, with London producing nine out of the 20 songs on “Still Over It.”

Due to her recent romantic troubles, Walker’s release has been highly anticipated. In promoting the album, Walker utilized a marketing tactic in which a glass box containing a hard drive of the new album was placed outdoors in various cities. The box — equipped with security guards, bulletproof glass and a pink hammer — challenged fans to break it open to listen to the album early. While it's unclear if anyone actually broke in and listened, “Still Over It” gained ample promotion, with multiple TikToks including the box going viral.

Walker is a storyteller at heart — the album chronicles the emotional arc of leaving a toxic relationship. Walker opens the album with a song titled “Bitter,” indicative of Walker’s signature style, pairing mid-tempo R&B beats with diaristic lyrics. 

The lyrics depict Walker in denial about her partner’s infidelity. Walker, not yet realizing the destructive nature of her relationship, attacks women who’ve come forward about the alleged affairs, claiming they’re simply “looking for attention.” The song concludes with a voicemail message from Walker’s hip-hop contemporary Cardi B, where the rapper urges Walker to “put the drama in [her] music.”

Walker comes to her senses in the rest of the album’s narrative, beginning with the song “Throw It Away.” The song sonically harkens back to the early 2000s, using a copious amount of vocal layers and harmonies, reminiscent of legendary R&B singer Brandy. Walker can be seen finally directing her lyrical frustrations to her romantic partner, admitting he’s “really to blame” and had her feeling “average”.

The bleak subject matter continues on the track “You Don't Know Me,” composed of only Walker’s voice and an acoustic guitar. Her delivery is heartbreaking, detailing the miscommunication and misunderstanding in her relationship. Walker laments about how even though she’s “traveled the world” and “done it all,” her partner still doesn’t truly know her.

While the topic of ending a relationship is clearly in Walker’s wheelhouse, it can feel overdone at times — most of the 20 tracks were dedicated to recounting a breakup. However, the album incorporates a star-studded cast of featured artists, allowing for some levity and additional perspectives on the topic of heartbreak. 

Grammy-nominated songstress SZA is featured on the vibey track “No Love,” teaming up with Walker to tell off an ex-partner, humorously declaring that she “needs her money back.” The song “Dat Right There” is the album’s most upbeat moment, featuring music mogul Pharrell Williams and his production team, The Neptunes.

Walker closes the album’s narrative with the song “4th Baby Mama,” a final, scathing diatribe against her ex-partner and a standout among Walker’s entire discography.

The song’s lyrics are so exceedingly direct and confrontational that listeners are bound to be shocked. She begins by calling her man “a liar, a cheater, a deceiver.” Walker then declares that she wished his “mama whooped [his] ass,” even though she knows his mother won’t because she loves his lavish lifestyle too much. She then directly questions him about his “pure laziness,” asking what the point is in continuing to have kids if he’s going to be absent from their lives and let his mother raise them. Walker’s spiteful interrogation continues for around four minutes, taking on a melodramatic, soap opera quality that’s impossible to ignore.

With 20 tracks fully dedicated to break-ups, disrespectful men and heartbreak, Walker has made her own offering into the “Sad Girl Autumn” lexicon. With Walker’s relatable lyrics and buoyant production, however, “Still Over It” is an album that can be enjoyed in any season.

Contact Jake Dodohara at dodohajh@dukes.jmu.edu . For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.