18. Beck - Mellow Gold
Known in indie circles for his sardonic take on anti-folk, Beck’s third album wasn’t meant to be a commercial breakthrough, but a jokey track called “Loser” completely altered his career. Previously releasing albums on indie labels, Beck was comfortable writing lo-fi folk songs steeped in noise and plenty of tape hiss, but Mellow Gold — despite having the same spirit — had Rob Schnapf and Tom Rothrock behind the boards, harnessing the rough edges. The two producers would later go on to produce Elliot Smith’s major label debut, and “Loser” brought Beck into the pop culture spotlight.