It’s well known that Atlanta star Summer Walker loves music but dislikes the industry surrounding it. The interview-shy singer instead chooses to be vulnerable through her work. Scarcely ten months after catapulting herself to fame with debut album ‘Over It‘, she returns with an understated, emotional new EP, ‘Life On Earth’ where her saccharine voice delivers a sublime, vulnerable record that runs through a gamut of emotions; nourishment for these dark days.
As ever, it all comes down to her voice, one that is gentle yet looming throughout. No need for interviews and promotion if your words are this strong. Her continued, insightful explorations of relationships and break-ups – the good, the bad, the ugly – are universally resonant. On opener ‘Let It Go’, produced by Atlanta’s London on da Track (Young Thug, Post Malone), Walker reflects on a relationship turned sour; “I thought I was changing you / I can’t believe I praised you / You know your momma ain’t raise you like that / look at your behaviour / that’s why she’s ashamed of you”.
It’s bolstered with some fresh voices, too. Newcomer NO1-NOAH makes two appearances, producing and singing alongside Walker on ‘White Tee’ and ‘SWV’. On both tracks, NO1-NOAH plays the role of the boyfriend opposite Walker. Couched in a familiar slow-drip of washed-out synths and barely-kissed hi-hats, the duo trade lines on the latter track, with NO1-NOAH asking, “What kind of love is this that you’re channelling? / I’m hurting / this hurting / she can’t have it”.
Throughout ‘Life on Earth’, Walker blends together contemporary soul and R&B, straddling contemplation, endurance, struggle and healing. She’s fed up on ‘White Tee’ and ‘My Affection’, the latter track alongside Toronto producer and OVO-affiliate PartyNextDoor. ‘Deeper’, the EP’s closer, doubles as a sensual song for the bedroom and an ode to heartbreak. Here, Walker goes solo, showing off her range in singing, “Even though I don’t wanna show, emotions I’m open / Not the type to try and double back, twice / Wish he had me ridin’ right back, back / I be cummin’ back to back.”
Where there may have been weaker, meandering tracks on her previous work, Walker has strengthened here. Her words float above the slowed-down R&B production, mainly handled by London on da Track and NO1-NOAH. Her work is cerebral and pensive, a way to contemplate and be present in the moment. Throughout the five tracks, Walker’s lyrics never feel anthemic. Rather, they are personal, almost as if she’s right there with you. Her words are a balm: comforting advice of an old friend through a Zoom call.
- Release date: July 10
- Record label: LVRN/Interscope