Gonna have to go with Ben here and do this chronologically as I experienced them. There are dozens of "important" albums in between all these (like when I discovered Johnny Cash after reading an article in a 'zine that quoted he was an influence on Ed Kowalczyk , or like when I re-discovered Elvis when not compelled to listen to it in my father's truck). What is hardest, for me, is that I can't cite a single album since Marshall Mathers that has affected me as a whole body - essentially because I never listen to albums anymore.
There are many reasons for this. When I was young, my parents both did the same thing they loaded the tape deck with the same damn albums, and listened over and over. Chuck Berry, Elvis, Little Richard, Dolly Parton - the list goes on. My mother even taped things she liked off of MTV, and would watch the VHS over and over, instead of watching MTV.
Obviously, when music aquisition options were album-based, that was how I consumed them. It was always better to listen through a casette than fast forward, for the fear that my shitty tape player would mangle the casette. This all stopped for me once CD's came around - Throwing Copper was the last tape album I bought. I didn't stick with CD's too long either - I ditched them after my first year in college, after discovering usenet online sharing and FTP server. I was a radio brat - I found songs here and there, and bands here and there. REM, U2, Iron Maiden, Megadeath, Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre - all these "big bands" in my swimming vision of my musical evolution came to me in singles and samples - sometimes on mix tapes swapped, sometimes on late-night radio shows, sometimes just browsing sections of throwaway singles that the music store wanted to toss for 75 cents.
Later, in digital meandering, I got into everything - classical, blues, rap, ska, folk, some western, trance, d&b, tons of music in other languages - all a song at a time though. A performer or a performance at a time. "Albums" lost meaning to me. Part of why Darkside is on here is because that was the album where I realzied the purpose of an album. It is amazing, but it is the last for which I apprecaited the craft. Now, I take music as music, not as an artist's "collection" of songs.
I've got over 60k tracks, and my tastes are all over the place - I never really lsiten to anything in a block. Whenever I listen to that collection, it is on shuffle. It is indexed and acecsable/searchable so I can listen to a particular song when I want one, but that is as close as I come to craving a specific musical experience. This has created a new problem, a weakness in my musical tastes. I've become an ADD bumblebee. Even new music coming out, from artists I love, I can't listen to in one sitting - I have to pop it into my catalouge, and listen to my "new tracks" (6 months and less in age in the collection) on shuffle.
What this means, is sometimes I miss some great songs for a while before they pop on my radar. There are, I'm sure, gems sitting in my queue hidden by the lark of digital "random numbers". I'm O.K. with that.
Albums are a thing long-gone for me. I love music though, and part of that love is tied to this evolution of experiences at crux points in my life:
1.Chuck Berry's All-Time Hits - Chuck Berry
2.Michael Jackson - Thriller
3.Pat Benetar - Live from Earth
4.The Cure - Pornography
5.Siouxsie & The Banshees Once Upon A Time
6.Various - Garage Days Re-Revisited
7.Metallica - And Justice for All
8.Pearl Jam - Ten
9.Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell II - Back Into Hell
10.NIN- Pretty Hate Machine
11.Live - Throwing Copper
12.Tom Waits - The Black Rider
13.Led Zepplin - Darkside of the Moon
14.Daft Punk - Homework
15.Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP