17 classic "self-titled" albums
12 August 2023, 12:00
Are the eponymous LPs the best LPs? Let’s take a look at the evidence… from The Beatles to Blur.
In 1997, Graham Coxon led the band into uncharted, guitar-heavy waters. Kicking off with the maudlin Beetlebum, there’s a quick gear change into Song 2 and Blur guaranteed themselves a life after Britpop.
The Stone Roses (1989)
We couldn’t leave this one out, could we? Lengthy, ambitious and epic, this debut ranges from sweet indie pop to psychedelic jams with effortless style. A record so impressive it took them five years to follow it up.
The Libertines (1997)
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat’s second album from 2004, and their last until 2015’s Anthem For Doomed Youth. At the time, it seemed like this was the last we’d hear of the band and it kicks off with the appropriate Can’t Stand Me Now and closes with the wistful What Became Of The Likely Lads?
As a statement of intent, you can’t do better than Brian Molko’s debut, which managed to spawn five great singles, including Nancy Boy, Teenage Angst and Bruise Pristine.
The La's (1990)
If you’re gonna release a debut and make it self-titled, do it like this. The La’s were a Merseyside band led by Lee Mavers and featured John Power, later with Britpoppers Cast. Their 1990 debut was also their only full-length release, features the classic There She Goes and paved the way for Oasis to bring back 60s-tinged guitar pop in a big way.
One of the key Britpop releases, Justine Frischmann forged a strong identity as a songwriter with this rapid-fire New Wave-styled tracks - 15 in just under 40 minutes! The album includes the wry Line-Up, the melodic Waking Up and the ever-popular Connection.
The Beatles (1968)
Everyone calls it the “White Album” due to the blank cover, but it was actually the Fab Four’s entry into the eponymous stakes. And it’s an apt title as this sprawling double album showcases the four members’ different styles and characters. Yeah, even Ringo.
Damon Albarn refined the formula over the years, but his first record in collaboration with artist Jamie Hewlett sets out the template. The hits were 19-2000, Clint Eastwood and the underrated Tomorrow Comes Today
The Coral (2002)
The debut album from the Merseyside folk-rockers, this LP gives full rein to James Skelly’s eclectic influences, with the quirky Skeleton Key balancing the sweet ditty that is Dreaming Of You.
Foo Fighters (1995)
The first record from Dave Grohl as a songwriter seems more remarkable now, following the huge success of the Foos. Pretty much recorded by Big Dave on his own, tracks like the epic This Is A Call and Big Me proved he could come out from the shadow of Kurt Cobain.
The Smiths (1984)
The band weren’t keen on the finished product, but their debut album gives Morrissey the first chance to create his own lyrical world and Johnny Marr an opportunity to create beautiful music around it. It’s a very idiosyncratic record, but one that received a lot of love.
The Clash (1977)
While the Sex Pistols were faffing about with different record labels, their West London rivals got their album in there first in April ’77. Tracks like White Riot, Career Opportunities and Janie Jones defined the year and the cover of Police And Thieves highlighted the reggae crossover that was blossoming in the UK.
Led Zeppelin (1969)
Ah, but which one? Like Peter Gabriel and Weezer, the Zep were fond of an eponymous title, notching up four self-titled albums until they came up with Houses Of The Holy in 1973. We’re plumping for Led Zep II cos it opens with Whole Lotta Love and includes that beast of a track, Ramble On.
Like The Beatles, Metallica’s self-titled album had a colour, and that colour was BLACK. The band proved that heavy rock could still be a major force in the 90s musical landscape with this mammoth production: Enter Sandman, Sad But True, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters… An absolute stormer of a record.
Another band that couldn’t come up with titles, the “Blue Album” is still a favourite from the stupidity of the opener My Name Is Jonas through the ponderous Undone - The Sweater Song and the classic Buddy Holly. They have released four more eponymous albums, all in different coloured sleeves.
Scottish singer Shirley Manson hooks up with some American musicians and the results are impressive. The brainchild of Nirvana producer Butch Vig, the album contains the hits Queer, Only Happy When It Rains and Stupid Girl.
The Doors (1967)
Another great debut, self-titled. One of the key American albums of the psychedelic era, it starts with the shuffle of Break On Through (To The Other Side) and climaxes with Jim Morrison’s epic sound poem The End. And it’s also got flippin’ Light My Fire on it.