EP Review: Summer Walker Discovers ‘Life On Earth’

Summer Walker is back. Her record-breaking debut album, Over It, is sure to land her a slew of Grammy Awards nominations, she delivered a great performance with Usher at this year’s virtual BET Awards, and she guested on new tracks from from A Boogie wit da Hoodie and dvsn and remixes of Justin Bieber‘s “Yummy” and Jhené Aiko‘s “Triggered.” Summer has been consistent with her output ever since she floated onto the scene with “Girls Need Love,” and the absurdity of 2020 isn’t stopping her grind. For her first project since Over It, Summer has released her Life On Earth EP.

Featuring guest appearances from NO1-NOAH and PARTYNEXTDOOR, Life On Earth functions as a continuation (of sorts) of the narrative of Over It. The project begins with “Let It Go,” an early standout track that blends Summer’s two trademark elements: moody trap&b production and dry acoustic guitar. With sharp lyrics like “I don’t wanna be feelin’ dead, so I said that I was leavin’,” Summer tells a story about letting go of someone after you’ve idealized a false version of them in your head. Thematically, the song ties well into Over It and introduces a new route for the narrative to take. The two NO1-NOAH-assisted tracks, “SWV” and “White Tee,” see Summer and her new collaborator get down and dirty. The former is a sensual midtempo about subconsciously using sex to keep the company and attention of someone who doesn’t love you. Summer and Noah’s harmonies are tight, and the melancholic edge to her voice adds some depth to the lyrics. Also, the references to SWV’s classics, “Weak” and “Rain,” are nice callbacks to the 90s R&B that influences so much of Summer’s musical identity. The latter, “White Tee,” is by far one of Summer’s raunchiest songs. Here, she sings of how she wants to be treated like the opposite of a white shirt that is constantly cleaned. Do with that what you will. PARTYNEXTDOOR features on “My Affection,” an emotional conversation between two lovers who have grown individually and are reflecting on the past while hinting at a possible future together. “But I can’t change my affection, and I can’t change my attention/I don’t think you know, I still want my goal,” Summer sings. As usual, her relatable lyrics cut to the heart of romantic issues that play out across all relationships: growing out of love but still wanting the other person just for the sake of having them. Finally, the EP closes with “Deeper,” a pretty forgettable track.

LoveRenaissance/Interscope/Ghetto Earth Recordings

While there isn’t anything as instant as the songs on Over It, Life On Earth is a solid addition to the slew of quarantine-induced loosies that artists have given us this year. If anything, the EP shows that Summer has reached the limit in terms of Auto-Tune sounding good on her. She actually has a solid singing voice, so the Auto-Tune was, theoretically, used for effect. Now, it is entirely too overbearing and you can’t even make out what she’s saying for significant portions of various songs. Regardless, Life On Earth will likely do its job and tide us over as we wait for Summer’s next full-length release.

Key Tracks: “Let It Go” and “SWV”

Score: 65

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