Summer Walker’s ‘Still Over It’ Is A Guide To Relationship Red Flags

The R&B songstress’ sophomore album is a go-to guide for relationships that we didn’t know that we needed.

Summer Walker’s sophomore album, Still Over It, is an honest, rallying cry for us to learn from her mistakes when navigating relationships. The R&B singer-songwriter leans into her strength and taps into her self-awareness and discernment, while lyrically painting a picture of the rollercoaster ride one endures when dealing with toxic relationships.

“You don’t have to guess if something is love. Love is shown through actions,” Walker explains via Apple Music. “Stop making excuses for people who don’t show up for you. Don’t ignore the red flags. And don’t think you have to stay somewhere ‘cause you can’t find better — you can and you will. Don’t settle for less — you don’t deserve it and neither does your family.”

RELATED: Summer Walker Says She's Done With Men

Walker’s 20-track album feels like a diary—she doesn’t hold back sharing vignettes of her highs and lows of life. In Still Over It, you’ll hear the emotions surrounding being your best motivator, stunting on haters, choosing to drown in toxicity with your partner, knowing when to walk away, and more.

Sonically, it’s clear Walker is inspired by the greats of Y2K R&B including newly-minted Walk of Fame inductee Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Erykah Badu, and Avant. You’ll hear the homage be paid through the production, the sampling, and interpolation, as well as through the mood she sets throughout the album. The interludes from Cardi B and the prayer from Ciara exemplify what it looks like when your girls show up for you when you need them the most.

RELATED: We Bet You’ll Relate To These 5 Summer Walker Lyrics

We’ve witnessed her tumultuous relationship with her ex London on da Track, and father of her first child, when Walker would vent about the drama of his infidelity and the mothers of his other children. Walker ironically chronicles her learnings on tracks he produced — ultimately speaking her truth in the face of shame.

There are numerous and recurring relationship red flags Walker reminds us of in Still Over It that we should pay close attention to. We’ve pulled examples from deconstructing five of the songs from the album. 

Check them out below.

1. Gaslighting

“Throw It Away” exemplifies the emotional manipulation one experiences when being gaslit by their partner. Gaslighting, as Vox explains, “refers to the act of undermining another person’s reality by denying facts, the environment around them, or their feelings."

In the pre-chorus, you’ll hear what the impact being convinced that your valid feelings and concerns are not real can have on your mental and physical being.

“I've been takin’ on all this baggage

Addin’ so much weight

Had me thinkin’ that I was average

When you’re really to blame”

The second verse calls the partner on their bluff and mentions the (unfortunate) unhealthy process of self-blame. Summer seems to be processing how much dishonesty she put up during a past relationship.

“Actin' likе this ain't mean nothin' to you, is you dumb?

Frontin' like you not, n***a, I'll be gone

('Cause right now I see) You only 'bout yourself

(Keep that same energy) When I find somebody else, so why?

Why I put up with this? Why did I even try?

You said you'd hold me down forever, but you lied to me, lied to me

You gotta be mental in the head”

2. Miscommunication

In the opening verse of “You Don’t Know Me, we’re hit with a significant red flag that can destroy relationships if not addressed early — miscommunication.

Summer is talking about how there can be misunderstandings and how partners should be willing to listen to each other.

“We lost in translation

I'm honestly runnin' out of patience

Communication just don't seem to work

You've got it all figured out in your head

And you in denial 'bout all that sh*t that you be sayin'

I'm tryna help us if you just listen to what I need

I can't tell you when, but now we don't have everything”

In the pre-chorus and chorus, Summer reflects on how painful it can be when you've invested in a relationship and the other person doesn’t put forth that same level of effort.

“It's been two years, we got some kids

We been through hella sh*t

Travelled the world, ran up the bag

We done it all and that's why it's sad that

You don’t know me (x3)

Like I know you”

3. Toxicity

“Closure” is a storyboard of the endless cycle of toxicity partners can find themselves in.

Summer says it plainly in the chorus — she can’t get enough even though she’s aware getting closure would benefit her best.

“Every time I need closure, closure

Mess around and get closer to you

Don't you make me feel hungover

Gotta get, get, get sober or I can't feel nothing

Why you gotta hang your love over my head like that?

Why'd you do it, baby?

I'm just tryna gеt closure, closure

Just tryna get closurе from you”

The second verse's lyrics reflect vulnerability and honesty about how a toxic relationship can impact mental health.  The songstress again emphasizes and chronicles the tug of war that can happen when you need to leave a situation that no longer serves you.

“You know I'm a month depressed

I'm the one that knows you best

Cut it off, say okay

Bet I won't, you say wait

I say n*gga, you say b*tch

You say sorry, then we kiss

Runnin' 'round and 'round, I don't understand how

How the goodbyes at the store runs, your sweet texts

Confirmations, confirmations, read the news break

Six up on news days

Still lookin' for new ways”

4. Turning a Blind Eye

Consciously or unconsciously ignoring relationship red flags is, in itself, a red flag.  “Broken Promises” encompasses what it feels like when you are constantly being let down by someone who is all talk and how you can come to regret not listening to close confidants who tried to warn you. It is hard to deny the pain expressed in Summer’s delivery of the song.

“Say what you mean

Do what you say

I don't wanna be sold another piece of your dream

So take it, save it

Put it back, f**k it, erase it

I just don't know how I can take it

'Cause my heart is breakin'

I've been mistaken

You're not the man I thought you were

And they tried to warn me

Yeah, they tried to warn me”

The chorus is the same message of not having a partner who would "step up" and live up to the promises made. But she ultimately should have taken heed.

“You can't tell me nothing 'bout my man

I would never take they words 'gainst yours

I rather let you make your promise

Oh, no

You can't tell me nothing 'bout my man

Said you would step up, said you was ready

But I should've listened”

5. Cheating and Dishonesty

“4th Baby Mama” is the last and arguably the most vulnerable we hear Summer be on the album before we’re greeted with the closing track, “Ciara’s Prayer.” The intro is a sample from Prolyfe’s 2000 break-up ballad, “Liar,” and sets the stage for Summer to express that enough is enough.

She’s explicit about coming to terms with her relationship and how it had not lived up to her expectations. Jumping to the third verse, she checks him on his inconsistent stories, where he seemingly uses excuses to abandon her when she needs him the most.

“Tellin' people that I'm your queen

But all you mean is just of R&B

I know you ain't care 'cause you always gone

How could you make me spend my whole f**king pregnancy alone?

And where was you at? 'Cause you claim you at work

But them other n****s said they made the beats, so how that add up?

Probably was with your baby mamas, one through three

You claim that you had a ring for me, you was probably out f**kin' hoes”

The chorus continues to emphasize her realization that what she had is not what she thought it was.

What was you tellin' them?

And what was you tellin' me?

Why would you do all that

Just to be sellin' dreams?

Ain't even pullin' through

You just be talkin’"

Still Over It’s replay value lies in Summer Walker’s willingness to let us into her growing pains of finding herself and finding comfort in knowing that she deserves better.

The through-line remains that as much as love, lust, and what-ifs can fog reality, paying attention to red flags is important for relationships with others and with yourself.

Antoinette Isama is a multimedia culture journalist documenting the global African diaspora. Follow her @AntoinetteIsama.

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