Eponymous excellence from Blur to Burial and Metallica to Madonna
Gaby Whitehill

11:20 17th December 2013

Beyonce dropped her brand new self-titled album on our unsuspecting arses recently, and wasn't it brilliant?

Instead of a flowery, pretentious title the record was simply called 'Beyonce'. An obvious choice considering her name is Beyonce and everything, but it was also fitting as it cemented her status as a true music superstar - someone who doesn't have to rely on promotion, just their name to sell. And oh boy, did she sell - nearly a million copies in three days.

It seems a self-titled album marks something in an artist's career - it's either your first body of work, a change in direction, a musical transition - or simply a monolithic statement that screams 'THIS IS ME'. 

We've taken a look at some other fantastic self-titled albums - from debut offerings by Madonna and Weezer, to game-changing moments from Metallica and The Libertines. Here are some eponymous and excellent offerings from the best artists.

  • The Libertines - The Libertines (2004): A rip-roaring indie classic that still sounds great today, The Libertines wonderfully portrayed the bitterness, disappointment, despair and anger surrounding the disintegration of Carl Barat and Pete Doherty's friendship. Neither of the pair have ever made anything better than this since.

  • Blur - Blur (1997): The release of Damon Albarn and co's fifth album marked a change in direction, spearheaded by guitarist Graham Coxon. Eschewing their previous trademark Britpop stylings, the band were influenced by US indie rock such as Sonic Youth and Pavement, and even recorded the album in Iceland. The record features one of the band's most famous singles, 'Song 2', but there's so much more to it than that.

  • The Smiths - The Smiths (1984): Morrissey and co cemented their legendary status instantly with their debut album. Miserable, dour, depressing, but oh so brilliant and poetic, it featured classic tracks including 'Pretty Girls Make Graves' and 'What Difference Does It Make?'. If only all debuts could be this good.

  • Madonna - Madonna (1983): Another impressive debut that cemented iconic status instantly, Madonna burst onto the scene with this compilation of ballsy, brazen and completely excellent pop gems. The record utilised new technology of the time, including the Linn drum machine and Moog bass, ushering in a new era of pop. Madonna is absolutely packed with undeniably brilliant pop hooks, and also gave us 'Holiday' and 'Lucky Star'.

  • Burial - Burial (2006): A melancholic, haunting electronic masterpiece from enigmatic producer Burial, this record is regularly cited as being one of the most revolutionary albums of its genre. A collage of dubstep and 2step and an inspired, varying selection of samples lifted from Destiny's Child, Brian Eno, Ashanti and rousing film dialogue doesn't sound amazing - but trust us, it is.

  • Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (2008): The eponymous debut album from US indie outfit Vampire Weekend is a delight from first listen. Brimming with personality, witty lyrics, and that unique afro-beat running throughout modern classics 'A-Punk' and 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa', it's a lesson to all bands of how your debut album should sound.

  • Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac (1975): Actually the second self titled album the legendary band released (the first was in 1968), it was the first to feature the awesome Stevie Nicks as a vocalist. It's also widely regarded as the record that made them superstars, thanks to radio-friendly hits 'Rhiannon' and 'Say You Love Me'. This confidence boost led them to their record their follow up, Rumours, often cited as one of the best albums of all time.

  • Metallica - Metallica (1991): Also known as the Black Album, this fifth offering from the heavy metal band spawned several of the band's most critically acclaimed and well known tracks, including the behemoth that is 'Enter Sandman' and 'The Unforgiven', despite the recording being riddled by conflicts with the band's new producer, Bob Rock. It went on to become James Hetfield and co's biggest selling record, shifting 30 million copies worldwide.

  • Django Django - Django Django (2012): Scottish four piece Django Django were nominated for the Mercury Prize for this thrilling collection of shimmering indie electronica. There's not a single duff track on here - it's a pure joy from start to finish, from the irresistibly catchy 'Default' to the slinky, grooving 'Waveforms'.

  • The 1975 - The 1975 (2013): Yep, it's a new offering, but this Manchester band deserve plenty of snaps for breathing life back into indie rock - nowadays an ailing, uninspired genre. The 1975 are unafraid of a great hook, which is why their debut album is packed full of energetic pop tinged rock gems including 'Sex' and 'Chocolate'.

  • Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley (1956): This album was a game changer in many ways; it was the first rock and roll record ever to make it to the top of the charts and the first rock and roll album to technically sell a million copies. Elvis Presley's debut is a cultural milestone and a touch-point for the genre we now know simply as rock. It's widely regarded as one of the best albums of all time.

  • Gorillaz - Gorillaz (2001): Side projects usually spell disaster, but luckily Damon Albarn of Blur had enough vision and imagination to make this slightly bizarre animated band work, thanks to genre-bending tracks like 'Clint Eastwood' and '19-2000'. Gorillaz was truly a breath of fresh air at the time.

  • Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (2008): Crystal Castles' utterly unapologetically unaccessible music divides; some think it's a noise, some think it's utter, modern brilliance. Crystal Castles' debut was a glitchy, frenetic mish mash for a generation, and it sounded like nothing else out there at the time.

  • Fever Ray - Fever Ray (2009): Karin Dreijer Andersson, best known for being one half of experimental electronic duo The Knife, showcased a different but no less imaginative side with her devastating, slow burning solo project Fever Ray. Her self titled record is menacing, dark and almost primal but certainly beautiful. It's unfairly underrated - check out 'When I Grow Up' and 'If I Had A Heart' now if you haven't already.

  • Queens of the Stone Age - Queens of the Stone Age (1998): "I just wanted to start a band that within three seconds of listening, people knew what band it was," frontman Josh Homme said of the rockers' debut album. They certainly achieved this, showcasing the band's trademark riff-orientated style from the offset.

  • Weezer - Weezer (1994): Also known as The Blue Album, this is another impressive debut. The US alt rock band were catapulted into mainstream success thanks to the charming, singalong garage rock of 'Buddy Holly' and 'Say It Ain't So'. It's now considered a classic.

  • The xx - xx (2009): Haunting, beautiful, ethereal - all words regularly used to describe London outfit The xx's debut, a lilting atmospheric collection of yearningly intimate tracks that seemed to resonate with many - it didn't win that year's Mercury Prize for nothing. From the epic, often sampled 'Intro' to the quietly confident 'Crystalised', it never gets old.

  • The White Stripes - The White Stripes (1999): Jack and Meg White loudly announced their arrival onto the scene with this compilation of brazen, bluesy, punky, banging rock. This would be the blueprint for their trademark sparse noise rock sound, that made them one of the most exciting rock bands of the decade.

  • Beyonce - Beyonce (2013): Following a a year of teases, rumours and speculation, Queen Bey shut everyone the hell up by unexpectedly dropping this fourteen track, seventeen video album on the unsuspecting world, and it's probably the best album of her career - cementing her true status as a music legend.

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