1. Daft Punk, 'Homework' (Virgin, 1997)
Daft Punk's debut is pure synapse-tweaking brilliance. In the Nineties, when artists like the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim were bringing in guest-star vocalists and sampling rock records, and ad executives were strip-mining club beats, French duo Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo proved that techno and house could be as elastic, catchy and, at times, as funny as the poppiest pop without diluting its hypnotically driving, acidic essence. Homework had standout hits – like "Da Funk" and the anthemically bloopy "Around the World." But it was paced like a great album, weaving hip-hop and funk (and, on "Rock N Roll," even some Seventies glam) into the mix, with pauses for oceanic contemplation (the guitar-washed "Flesh") and hip-hop influenced skits like "WDPK 83.7 FM," in which a French-accented robo-DJ promises "the sound of tomorrow and the music of today." Considering how their thick, Euro-thwump has transformed R&B and pop music during the last decade, that absurd brag now sounds like truth in advertising.
• Photos: Rockers Who Score Films
• Playlist: David Guetta: Dance-Floor Classics