44. The Beatles, Rubber Soul (EMI, 1965)

Are we finally getting sick of the Fab Four? There's a growing backlash among Gen X-ers: we're tired of all the boomer-nostalgia hype, the endless repackaging, Sgt. Pepper's topping Rolling Stone's latest greatest albums list again. Yep, The Beatles inexorably changed music and pop culture and how could you not love them, etc; Personally, they did change the way I perceived music with an album that opened up worlds for me (it'll appear much later on this countdown). Since one of the remaining Beatles turns 64 this year, it's easy to obscure their impact. This one makes the cut because it's an astounding leap in maturity and articulation. Possibly the best-titled LP ever, it was also the band's most complete to date, confronting folk-rock, Eastern instrumentation, and Tin Pan Alley balladry at experimental but masterful levels. And I'll argue until my death that "In My Life" alone makes the case for John Lennon's genius.