26. The Jam, 'Snap!' (1983)
Though he was only 18 when the Jam first charted in 1977, frontman Paul Weller matured quickly as a writer, drawing on influences ranging from Pete Townshend and Ray Davies to English novelists George Orwell and Colin MacInnes. Brilliant songs like "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight," "Going Underground" and "Town Called Malice" eloquently reflected the frustration and alienation of working-class life in Thatcher's Britain. "When I see all these other fuckin' groups — all the really fraudulent bands that're around — that keeps me in check," Weller told The Face in May 1982. "That keeps me realizing what we should be doing — showing that bunch of wankers up for what they are." While that kind of intensity ultimately proved impossible to sustain (Weller broke up the band in late '82), the band's incredible six-year run of U.K. singles – many of which weren't included on their albums – is captured exquisitely on Snap!, a 1983 compilation that showcases the ringing chords, pointedly observational lyrics, passionate shout-along choruses and watertight musical attack that would prove enormously influential on such pop-punk threesomes as Green Day and Alkaline Trio. D.E.