Released only six months after her previous album, Meg's fifth set is a dance-crazed bit of techno just waiting for a floor to be filled. Lyrically, there's fairly little here. Musically, though, it's a fairly interesting dance album. With Step helmed by Nakata Yasutaka, Meg becomes just a voice among the crowd of technological riffs, bleeps, and bloops. The rhythms are insanely tight and any gap is immediately filled by additional notes. Where Meg fits in, however, is as the central focal point, directing the rest of the music with her insistent Auto-Tuned vocals. She generally sings with timing distortion to fit into the highly electronic setting, with echoes and note-smoothing galore as additional effects. Her voice shows a lot of promise, keeping itself largely within the realm of the standard sugary kitten-like J-pop singer, but also stretching a bit (both with and without Auto-Tuning) to cover lower ranges and slightly more emotion from time to time, even within the industrial setting. When subjected to a little less manipulation, the breathiness of Meg's voice comes out. Unfortunately, it tends less toward a sultry format and more toward gasping for air between lines of delivery, as in "Kittenish," where she may be trying just a bit too hard. For new and exploratory music, Step isn't breaking any ground whatsoever. For sheer dance energy and high-end beats (courtesy of Yasutaka), it's chock-full of goodness, though.
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