39. My Bloody Valentine, 'Loveless'
Technically, this album isn't instrumental — Bilinda Butcher's dreamy croon wafts throughout, gently defining post-punk girlishness. Guitarist and resident genius Kevin Shields also sings sometimes. But the instrumental quality of the vocals — the fact that they matter as tone, not language — helps define Loveless' new paradigm. No more would experimental bands require pompous poets ranting about lambs on Broadway. Sonic textures, from electrical-storm dissonance to feather-soft harmonics, could carry meaning and hit the gut. Imparting this truth and setting the stage for post-rock, electronica, Garbage and Beck, My Bloody Valentine vanished into the ether they'd generated. If they never return, Loveless was enough.