- The Juliana Hatfield Three - Become What You Are (This is my "I'm 18 years old and I listen to this CD constantly because it's the first record I've ever heard that makes me say 'Yes, this is it exactly, somebody FINALLY gets it'" album.)
- The Beatles - Rubber Soul (This spot used to be firmly occupied by Sgt. Pepper, and while I still love that album for its artisanship, I now appreciate Rubber Soul for its absolute glee in being an unpretentious nugget of pure pop goodness from start to finish.)
- Weezer - Pinkerton (Just a pure outpouring of emotion, as rambly and self-contradictory as the human heart and psyche. One of the most purely human records ever.)
- They Might Be Giants - Flood (What I enjoy about the Johns is that they are the cleverest guys in the room, know it, and aren't afraid to flaunt it. That and you know they got their asses kicked from one side of their middle schools to the other. I can relate. Can't we all?)
- Piebald - We Are The Only Friends That We Have (First, they're my wife's favorite band, and therefore remind me of her. Second, this album shows real emotional growth from their past work, leaving the typical overwroughtness and misplaced urgency of emo and making the transition to becoming a really tight rock band. Plus, they write a love song to their dearly departed tour bus, and I think that's really cool.)
Honorable mentions abound: The Beatles - Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road, Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five, Barenaked Ladies - Gordon, Shonen Knife - Brand New Knife, Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News, Weird Al Yankovic - UHF Soundtrack and Other Stuff, and oh, how the list goes on.
Keep in mind that I'm not necessarily saying these are the best albums ever, just my favorites. As of right now, anyway. This could all change by morning.