Release Date: April 3, 2019
- Yugure Sentimental
- Ringo Uruwashi Minori no Kisetsu
- Milky Land
- Fly With Your Dream
- Perfect Girl
- Love Story
- Ano Hi no Sora to, Watakushi no Mirai
Watanabe Miyuki is a former member of NMB48. She graduated from the group in August of 2016 after 6 years of service. Shortly after her graduation she took a hiatus from the entertainment industry with no set timeline for when or if she would return.
In April of 2017 she made her comeback to entertainment opening her official fan club. She released her second solo single Milky Land a year later. In the fall of 2018 she embarked on her first live tour titled “Watanabe Miyuki 1st LIVE TOUR 2018 ~Milky Land da yo ne~” where she revealed more new solo material.
Most of the songs from that concert tour ended up becoming the core of what is her debut solo album 17%. It is 10 tracks long (with 9 songs being brand new) and contains zero covers of songs from her former life in NMB48.
Now that she has a clean slate to work with what does 17% do to show what kind of artist Watanabe is? Well it’s fairly evident she is sticking to idol music. The songs here do not fall too far from that particular genre of Japanese pop.
The lead single from this album is a song written and composed by Tsunku called Yugure Sentimental. There is no doubt this is Tsunku production right from the first note and for some of Watanabe’s fans it may seem a little strange to hear her performing one of his songs after being associated with the 48 group for so long.
Yugure Sentimental is reminiscent of the “emo Musume” era at times. If you are fond of that particular time period of music this song may bring back some feelings of nostalgia. It strangely does seem to fit her well enough to make it an okay opening salvo.
As you dig deeper into the album it becomes apparent that there are better songs on 17% for her to work with such as Myself, Because I Love You and Perfect Girl. The layered productions of these songs are a much better fit for her voice as they help mask some of the deficiencies in her vocals. Don’t take that as a bad thing. Watanabe has a decent singing voice but she’s not exactly one whose range is able to go into the “only dogs can hear me” territory.
Moving on to the one song that is not all happy, happy up-tempo idol gushing. That is the token ballad present in the form of Love Story. Again, Milky is not a power vocalist and is far from whipping out some monster diva persona. But she does an admirable job of showing she is capable of holding her own when it comes to slowing things down.
17% is a pretty good debut album that plays to Watanabe’s strengths. She has a solid foundation to build on here and time will tell if she continues on the tried and true idol path or if she branches out a little in future releases.
Folks looking for something more adventurous from her may want to steer clear of this album. There is nothing overly ambitious to take her out of her comfort zone or try to rebuild her as a completely different artist from what her fans expect.
If you like inoffensive, straight edge Japanese idol pop or enjoy Watanabe for the artist she has been up to this point then 17% is something you might want to check out.