Susanna Liu

Following up her stellar 2019 debut “Over It” was always going to be a bold undertaking, but on her sophomore LP, “Still Over It,” Summer Walker asserts herself with luscious vocals, crisp production and songwriting that compels.

Summer Walker’s strength has always been her relatability and knack for delicate yet catchy melodies. She weaves personal anecdotes into every verse and follows them with choruses overflowing with resentment, grief and vengeance. Her vocal prowess and synergy with every beat are impressive on “Still Over It,” as she remains one of the few female artists who outwardly flaunts her 2000s R&B influences. 

Although her soulfulness and charisma take her a long way, “Still Over It” serves as a project that emphasizes her potential but is somewhat unable to capitalize on it. 

The album begins with the aptly-named “Bitter” as she details her domestic issues with famed producer London on da Track, with whom she shares a daughter. She questions his loyalties to her and his children, as she begins to chronicle the collapse of her two-year long relationship with him. At the end of the track is a voice message from rapper Cardi B in which she encourages Walker to control her own narrative. She shares her stories as she experiences them, a fitting way to start off her most personal album to date. The track is followed by “Ex for a Reason,” a trap anthem for all women who refuse to tolerate disloyalty and features a scathing verse from rapper JT of the City Girls. 

One of the album highlights, “No Love,” is a groovy trap-R&B cut that expresses her desire to, at once, be free from her partner’s toxic traits but also enjoy the physical aspect of her relationship with him. Near the end of the song, she bares her hurt and the causes for her loss of emotional attachment to her partner as she asks, “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?”  

It’s at this point, however, that a trend becomes visible within the album as the subsequent tracks have many standouts, but fail to differentiate themselves in the subject matter. Walker shares different aspects of the relationship’s breakdown such as her partner’s indifference, inability to “Reciprocate” and toxic traits that drive her mad. Although each song may be a pleasurable listen, her stories begin to lose their spark as they blur into one another, becoming just a “vibe.”

On “Insane,” “Circus” and “Constant Bullsh*t,” she lyrically visits the negative aspects of her partner, but her delivery and production keep the songs from creating a lull in the tracklist. Perhaps the greatest track on the album is the Ari Lennox-featuring “Unloyal.” With a sensual ambiance and jazzy instrumentation, Walker reflects on accusations of infidelity while simultaneously exemplifying the essence of the album with biting songwriting and vocal delivery. However, after this track, the album experiences a monotonous streak with songs like “Toxic,” Screwin” and “Broken Promises,” though “Closure” and “Dat Right There” add variety with more pop-influenced elements. 

Thankfully, she reaches a zenith of emotional honesty and reflection with “Session 33” and “4th Baby Mama.” On “Session 33,” she stays in theme with previously-released “Session 32” as the acoustic outtake reflects on a lover’s failed potential and the heartbreak that comes with the realization that he was never going to be the one. Meanwhile, on “4th Baby Mama,” she offers her final words on her relationship with London and the album itself as she attempts to find her much-deserved closure. 

Walker’s courage shines through her voice on this album. She has ample reason to be proud of her emotional honesty with the number of records she’s already broken she just had the biggest streaming week for a female R&B album since Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.” She effortlessly deals with controversies and allegations with buoyant production, remarkable storytelling and her quintessential “bad b*tch” persona. Though it has its lulls, “Still Over It” provides brilliant catharsis for Walker, and, for the rest of us, becomes a must-listen for whenever we’re feeling “No Love.”

Manas Sharma covers the Yale School of Medicine for the SciTech Desk of the News. Manas is originally from McComb, MS, and is a sophomore in Branford majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.