Update 8/7/09: Animal Collective's "Merriweather Post Pavilion" is my favorite album of 2009 so far, and I don't imagine that will change. By the rules of the game, I can't have two Animal Collective records on the list, so I changed my 2004 entry to Arcade Fire's "Funeral." I also made some other changes to recent years' favorites.
I stumbled across an excellent post on Google on Nick Carr's blog today, and scrolling through past entries, found this intriguing list of his favorite album from every year since he was born. A couple other bloggers posted their own lists around the same time.
I'm late to the party, but I couldn't resist--especially since last week in my post on '80s music, one commenter accused me of being in my 40s, and therefore naturally drawn to music of my "teenage" years, the '70s. Close, but not quite--I was a little kid in the '70s and graduated high school in 1987.
The rules are one album for each year, and each artist can only make one appearance.
1969: Miles Davis, Bitches' Brew
1970: The Who, Live at Leeds
1971: Funkadelic, Maggot Brain
1972: Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street
1973: Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon
1974: The Velvet Underground, 1969 (This may violate the spirit of the game, but this live album is VU's best record, so who cares if the band had broken up years before? I listen to this album more than any other released in 1974.)
1975: Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
1976: Bob Dylan, Desire
1977: Fela Kuti and the Afrika 70, Zombie
1978: Devo, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo
1979: The Clash, London Calling
1980: Talking Heads, Remain in Light
1981: The Police, Ghost in the Machine
1982: Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska
1983: Tom Waits, Swordfish Trombones
1984: The Replacements, Let it Be
1985: Love and Rockets, The Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven
1986: R.E.M., Life's Rich Pageant
1987: Roger Waters, Radio K.A.O.S.
1988: Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking
1989: The Pixies, Doolittle
1990: Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Ragged Glory
1991: Ministry, Psalm 69
1992: Faith No More, Angel Dust
1993: Sisters of Mercy, A Slight Case of Overbombing (A compilation, and thus slightly unfair, but it's the only album from that year I listen to anymore.)
1994: Pavement, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
1995: Morphine, Yes
1996: Butthole Surfers, Electric Larryland
1997: Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
1998: Calexico, The Black Light
1999: The Flaming Lips, The Soft Bulletin
2000: Modest Mouse, The Moon and Antarctica
2001: Radiohead, Amnesiac
2002: Godspeed You Black Emperor, Yanqui U.X.O.
2003: The Postal Service, Give Up
2004: Arcade Fire, Funeral
2005: Wilco, Kicking Television
2006: M Ward, Post-War
2007: Battles, Mirrored
2008: Portishead, 3
2009: Animal Collective, Meriweather Post Pavilion