Los Angeles’ own Polartropica deliver a vast amount of compassion and whimsical soundscapes heard throughout their discography, as they continue to shine in synth-glitter. As an artist who isn’t afraid to genuinely be themselves — note the glorious, galactic ensembles — frontwoman Ihui Cherise Wu pens the issues that speak from her heart. On Polartropica’s newest single, “WILD LYFE,” delves into animal captivity and the glass house from all angles. As beautiful as it is to elude in the quartet’s dreamy musings — which also features Jett Kwong on the Guzheng — the chamber-pop ode slyly disarms and offers a glimmer of hope to all animals by first showing the reality to humans.
“This song is about exploring what it means to be a wild animal in captivity, never having the chance to interact with other species in the wild or being able to use their natural born instincts – do they just become a shell of their wild selves, just living, breathing stuffed animals for human enjoyment and entertainment?” explains Wu. “What happens when they get sick, does the zoo need to find a new replacement for their prized display?”
Electronically structured and brought to tender fruition by Kwong’s graceful plucks, the track’s airy demeanor juxtaposes Wu’s weighty lyrics, “Will I ever be free / When will you people see / What’s the use of surviving / When soul spirits are dying.” Wu’s croon is wounded on the first opening lines as the track’s narrative changes from a casual viewer to a casualty, still caressed in hope.
The four minutes become a cinematic bliss, sequined with expansive synths and bright, ringy drums as the fantasy is full lived from start to finish. As easy as it is to craft in a somber tone, Wu’s message expands past the obvious and sketches a blind sighted enchantment humans immerse themselves in. Attentive to the heartache, yet still optimistic, the charm of the track is echoed on Wu’s final line, “I was born to be free.”
“WILD LYFE” and its overall value of life praises the humanity that can be found within us all if we simply change our narrative. In the end, Polartopica and Wu’s delicate exhibition celebrates all and also draws inspiration from a vivid moment expressed in a recent interview with LA Weekly, and the television mini-series, “Planet Earth II.” Wu states, “[The] Islands episode, specifically the scene where newborn baby mermaid water iguanas are making their epic trek to the ocean while chased in all directions by snakes on the land. This is my love song to all of the wild animals, big and small.”
POLARTROPICA celebrates “WILD LYFE” with a free show at Resident, Wednesday Oct. 17
Engineered and produced by CM Rodriguez
Cover photo: Courtesy of the artist; album art by Jess Joy