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Album of the Week: 'Flowers' EP by LAAMAR

 A side view of a bearded man in black beanie with flowers below his head.
Geoffrey Lamar Wilson Bandcamp
LAMAAR's "Flowers" EP.

The "Flowers" EP by LAAMAR is KAXE's Album of the Week for June 16-22, 2023.

With Flowers, Minneapolis based LAAMAR has crafted a stunning debut that does not shy away from difficult topics.

The new EP features four instantly catchy songs, with each taking a different approach to issues of racial and social justice. The earworms invite the listener into difficult conversations — ones they otherwise might not grapple with.

Opening the project is “Home To My Baby,” the lead single released ahead of the full EP. A first-person narration of being pulled over as a person of color, the song explores what is an annoying but tame interaction for some people, but fraught and traumatic for others.

 A man with a guitar singing into a microphone in a room with two chairs to either side and two houseplants.
Geoffrey Lamar Wilson
LAAMAR's Home To My Baby

The story, paired with a mesmerizing sing-along chorus, sets the scene for the rest of the EP.

Next is “My Kingdom,” which opens with the line, “How we gonna live if we can’t stop dying? In the car, in the street, from the comfort of our beds.” The reference to Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police breaking into her apartment, is accompanied on the EP by mentions of Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, George Floyd and more killed by police.

“Say My Name” is built around a simple but melodic riff that slowly grows as more instruments are added to the mix. The man behind LAAMAR, Geoffrey Lamar Wilson, is also a skilled multi-instrumentalist with a background in jazz. He takes an opportunity to show off his saxophone in the track. The title and chorus echo the thousands of protesters who marched to demand an end to police brutality. Just as those shouts helped to keep victims' memories alive, LAAMAR continues to demand they not be forgotten.

“How we gonna live if we can’t stop dying? In the car, in the street, from the comfort of our beds.”

Closing out Flowers is the title track, which builds off “My Kingdom” by listing many of the mundane places and activities that have led to police killing unarmed people of color. It ends with the repeated refrain, “Yeah, my momma’s lighting candles, putting flowers on the boulevard.” From the internal thoughts during a police stop of “Home To My Baby,” LAAMAR has widened the scope of his focus to the generational trauma inflicted on Black families and communities.

If the lyrics of Flowers were released on their own, they would still be a powerful statement on police brutality and racial justice. If the instrumentals were released on their own, you would still listen to it while driving to the beach or hosting a party. It is rare when both of these aspects merge so seamlessly. Together, they are an outstanding debut and our Album of the Week on KAXE.

For more information on LAAMAR’s background and theFlowers EP,listen to hisCenterstage Minnesotainterview here.

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