Figured I'd have to start off with a bang, here, so I chose The Day the World Turned Dayglo by the X-ray Spex:
One of my greatest accomplishments in the mid-to-late 90's was introducing the Spex to Peoria, Illinois. One of my baby brother's classmates was an Illinois-boy, and he'd often come around to the homestead when he had time off, but was unable to travel home. At the time, I was playing the hell out of a newly released CD reissue of Germfree Adolescents, (I'm talking "laser burning a groove in the damn thing" here) and he became enamored of their music. When he returned home, he got his younger siblings hooked on the Spex, and the damage was done.
The album is an amazing cultural artifact. The prescience shown by lead singer/head songwriter Poly Styrene (Née Marian Joan Elliott Said) verges on the terrifying- her commentary on such topics as genetic engineering, consumerism, gender and racial identity, germ-phobia and chemical saturation of the environment sounds as timely now as it did in 1977. The fact that she was a teenager when the album debuted should make dimbulb "pundits" such as William Kristol and Thomas Friedman slink off in shame.
Although I deplore consumerism, I implore anyone reading this (yeah, right!) to purchase Germfree Adolescents as soon as is humanly possible. If you've never heard any of the songs, prepare to be shocked at how timely they all sound.
In 1978, Poly started hallucinating, went on a hiatus, and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder (from "tehWiki Waki Woo", although John Savage's England's Dreaming) has a lot to say about her). At the risk of sounding histrionic, I like to think that she had tapped into a vein of hyper-consciousness, which simply overwhelmed her for a time. Reading the article linked by Wikipedia, it's good to know that she's doing well- she paid a high enough price for her awe-inspiring awareness.