kenzie – word vomit

On "word vomit," kenzie enters a new sonic territory while fully seated in her vocal wheelhouse

Even without extensive knowledge of the background of a public figure, one can’t help but wonder how that person is going to differentiate themselves from even just the perception of what has been presented to the audience at large when pursuing a new endeavor. A well-known dancer from a well-known TV show with a well-known sister and well-known friends… how do you create an identity for yourself outside of the muddy waters of childhood fame?

For kenzie, the artist name of Mackenzie Ziegler, she does so by creating her own brand of original sad-girl pop music. With remnants of Tate McRae, Noah Cyrus, and Gracie Abrams, kenzie is building a catalog of accessible and trendy Gen-Z geared pop.

Her new song, “word vomit,” is out now.

The term “word vomit” is a reference to the rapid, unregulated spewing of thoughts and feelings, likely in a heightened emotional state. kenzie emulates this in her verses, during which she maintains a calm, controlled demeanor… potentially after a come-down of internal and external grief: “The thought of who I knew you were it makes sick I’m feeling like I lost a limb a piece of me is gone and I don’t think I’ll re-attach it/ Not to be dramatic/ But nothing hurts like that shit.”

Her thoughts are tighter… more direct in the chorus. She slows her phrasing down significantly as if she is gasping for air after each phrase: “What does she give you that I couldn’t?/ If you’d asked me, well I would’ve/ Hope it’s weighing on your conscience/ Might be brutal, but it’s honest.” Sound-wise, this tune contains sinister, murky production elements similar to that of Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom record. kenzie does not bear down on her words the way Halsey would have, choosing to sustain within a breathy head voice for much of the song, but her approach of extending her phrases and falling off the note after the final word creates feelings of suspense and active numbness.

“word vomit” is far from kenzie’s first attempt at this kind of piano-driven ballad, but the more menacing aspects of the production creates a shift in the atmosphere. A stark alteration from her 2023 song “anatomy,” about the strained relationship with her father, which, with little else outside of piano and vocal, emboldens her visceral, poignant storytelling: “Hate when people say that our noses are the same/ So I went and got it changed like three quarters of LA/ And I’ve dated shitty people ‘cause of how you treated mom/ Now I’m with somebody good, but I’m still feeling numb ‘cause of trust issues… I’m soaking tissues.”

kenzie, at just 19 years old, has proven herself to be easily adaptable as a vocalist, with songs like “Breathe” and “Worst Thing” with NOTD thrusting her into environments of trop-house and electropop, respectively. It is no surprise she is now finding her own little corner of this blurry, piano-driven sector of indie pop.

Stream “word vomit”: