At age 4, Mackenzie Sol became the youngest singer on record to audition for The X Factor, and his passion for music seems to only have grown since then. The now 17-year-old English singer has released a handful of songs and music videos, with his most recent being the poppy, new single, “Taken”.
Written by Grammy-award winning songwriter Diane Warren, the lyrics direct the singer’s love interest to let anyone who tries to make a move on her know that she’s taken. While some phrases on their own seem a tad bit possessive (“If somebody looks a little too deep in your eyes//Tell ’em you’re taken”), the upbeat song comes off as one teen proudly professing his love for another. Against the staccato of guitar chords, Mackenzie’s confident vocals make “Taken” a strong contender in the musical realm of teen favorites like One Direction, but with an electronic boost that signifies its attempt to keep up with contemporary sounds.
The song starts off with a fairly simple, repetitive melody. The first verse sets up a scene of a girl being approached by potential suitors and steadily builds up to the chorus where Mackenzie belts out “Tell ’em you’re taken.” While the verses maintain relatively minimal instrumentation, allowing Mackenzie’s pure vocals to take front and center, the chorus features electronically distorted versions of him singing “taken” in the background. This latter half of the chorus is the highlight of the song, the part that’s likely to become the earworm you can’t get out of your head. The infusion of synth-pop sounds adds a modern twist to the track, and combined with Mackenzie’s fresh, youthful voice, hints at him becoming a rising pop icon for today’s generation.
“Taken” is the kind of track you’d dance along in the car to, and who knows, maybe you’ll hear it soon on a radio station near you.