The Beach Boys (1966)
With this masterwork, introverted musical craftsman Brian Wilson seamlessly merged very intricate, creative instrumentation with pop songwriting and heartfelt soul-searching (aided by surprisingly adept philosophical lyrics penned by other Beach Boys and songwriting partners). His elaborate melodies and mournful worldview helped this record start a seismic change in popular culture (and his bandmates’ flawless harmonizing didn’t hurt either). Nothing more really needs to be said about this musical miracle. Its quality and innovation speak for themselves.
Key track: “God Only Knows”
See also: Forever Changes – Love (1967), Odessey And Oracle – the Zombies (1968), The Soft Bulletin – the Flaming Lips (1999)