MEG – STEP [5th Studio Album]

June 17, 2008 at 9:20 pm (MEG) (, )

MEG’s 5th studio album, entitled STEP, was released on 06.18.08. Much like her previous album, BEAM, this album was produced by Nakata Yasutaka. Both singles released before the album, MAGIC and HEART, have found their way to the album as well as the B-side to the HEART single, NATALIE.

MAGIC, her first single of the STEP era, opens up the album. The song begins nicely with a happy techno sound followed by a cool sounding instrumentation. The distortion of MEG’s vocals is set to work with the instrumentation as during the verses, it is lower pitched to fit the more relaxing atomsphere while the happiness and energy of the chorus is matched in her voice. MAGIC is a nice song with a cuteness element to it that makes it all the more enjoyable. It’s definitely a good way to open up the album into MEG’s world of STEP.

KITTENISH follows MAGIC as the second track. A cool and more funky techno instrumentation opens up the song before going into the first verse, which sounds great. MEG’s vocals are nicely distorted to go along with the techno beat. The chorus is nice and continues the cool sound of the song but there should have been something right before to really introduce and separate the chorus that would make it pop. Otherwise, it’s enjoyable and the following pure instrumental section sounds wonderful as well. Although simplistic much like the previous track, KITTENISH is a nice follow up with a cool sound.

The third song is Make Love, clocking in at over seven minutes. The song opens up with a hot and cool sounding techno beat. Once the first verse comes in, she speaks over the beat and her words are echoed to capture the feel of the song. Soon a more aggressive sound is brought into the instrumentation and then vanishes, revealing the same cool instrumentation. Although she begins by speaking her way through the song, she delivers some lines with a distorted singing voice, which shows off her range. The song, sung entirely in English, really spotlights the cool instrumentation as MEG works her way through the song wonderfully. It’s an excellent way to keep the steam of the album going.

PRISM BOY is the next song to appear on the album. The song begins with a nice instrumentation that gives off a vibe of flashing lights before going into the first verse, which sounds pretty mellow in comparison to her other songs. During the verse, the instrumentation gets kind of annoying as it continuously repeats. The chorus picks things up in terms of energy level and it’s nice but nothing too spectacular. PRISM BOY is nice but nothing that blows it out of the water and kind of a bad fit after MAKE LOVE.

HEART takes up the same atmosphere that PRISM BOY does but captures it better. The opening instrumentation is relaxing and the distorted vocals work well to keep that relaxing vibe throughout the entire song. The ending note of the chorus is held nicely and shows off MEG’s vocals nicely. Although the song is simplistic, it’s a fun and nice listen  and a nicer finish after PRISM BOY.

SUPERSONIC is the next song on STEP. The song opens up with a mysterious techno instrumentation before going into the first verse. Once again, MEG speaks her way through it and captures a sexy atmosphere that the instrumentation suppports very well. Much like MAKE LOVE, MEG finds her way back to singing and she sounds great over the destructive instrumentation. SUPERSONIC is the longest song on the album but the energetic yet mysterious sound of the instrumentation keeps it an ineresting and fun listen.

Next is SEARCHLIGHT, a relaxing and cool song. The opening instrumentation nicely nicely introduces the atmosphere of the song before going into the first verse. It isn’t much different from the other slower songs on the album and it doesn’t particularly stand out as being something mind-blowing. The chorus is pretty boring as nothing really changes and it doesn’t pop as there is nothing to really separate it from the verse besides being sung in a higher tone. SEARCHLIGHT has its nice instrumentation points but it’s nothing particularly noteworthy.

NATALIE finishes the album, different from the version released as the B-side to the HEART single. Unfortunately, NATALIE <FM16 MIX> was much stronger than the album version as that video-game and magical quality was removed to make a boring finish for the album. The same relaxing sound is attempted here and the vocals aren’t anything to be proud of. Overall this was an absolute bad way to end the album and very disappointing as the FM 16 MIX of the song was so strong.

Album Ranking: B

MEG’s fifth studio album has its ups and downs. Songs such as MAKE LOVE and SUPERSONIC, in which MEG both speaks and sings her way through the song really show off the sex appeal that the instrumentation as well as MEG’s vocals combine to form. Songs like KITTENISH and MAGIC are nice songs that show off Nakata’s production skills. However songs like NATALIE are extremely boring and have no place on the album and the FM 16 MIX would have been a much better finish.

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