The Velvet Underground - Velvet Underground & Nico This is probably the best debut album ever made. Ridicolously ahead of its time, can you imagine them writing “Heroin” and “I’m Waiting for the Man” and “European Son” while the rest of the world is listening to Sgt. Pepper’s? What’s even more amazing is how well the album has aged, there are almost no duds on it even though it’s really eclectic and kind of experimental.
Radiohead - OK Computer Already been mentioned a couple of times, for good reason. No other album sounds like this, and I don’t think any album will sound like this either.
Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted One of the best pop albums ever, IMO. Every song is a little masterpiece, and they somehow make it sound like they came up with it all on the spot. Amazing.
The Clash - London Calling PUNK RAWK! And ska. And r’n’b. And reggae. And sometimes even really catchy pop music. But mostly punk.
Slint - Spiderland This album kickstarted the whole post-rock scene in the early 90’s, it’s easy to see how you’d be influenced by the unnerving stop-starts and the mumbled vocals. Sometimes it sounds dense and paranoid, other times hauntingly beautiful.
**Can - Ege Bamyasi ** Pink Floyd’s much cooler cousins from Germany, they did the same thing except Can listened to free jazz and avant-garde instead of classical. Pinch is probably my favorite song ever, or at least in the top three.
Belle & Sebastian - If You’re Feeling Sinister Happy songs for happy people.
The Beatles - The Beatles (White Album) Yes, here comes the Beatles album. It’s a pretty amazing task they picked for the album, trying to fit in as many genres as possible on two vinyls. It’s even more impressive how well the manage to pull the whole thing off. It has a few songs I usually skip, but it doesn’t really matter compared to all the good stuff that’s on here.
Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation The one album where they got the balance between thier artsy jams, occasional noise bursts and punky college rock just right. Now, I love Goo, Sister, EVOL, Dirty, Murray Street, etc. but this album is so much… MORE than those. The whole album is greater than the sum of its songs, you know.
Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left I had a hard time choosing between this and Pink Moon, but this wins though it might be for sentimental reasons. It’s so horribly beautiful and melancholic and I’m stuck between crying and smiling like an idiot.