38. Kate Bush, The Dreaming (EMI, 1982)

In a perverse way, enjoying Kate Bush's self-declared "mad" fourth album is like tuning in to The Jerry Springer Show. Both are so over-the-top extreme to the point where you almost can't believe what you're watching/hearing. The crucial difference, of course, is that while Springer openly treats his three ring circus as a freak show, with an emphasis on show, you never question the wide-eyed sincerity/mysticism with which Bush crafts her dazzling, phantasmagoric entities. Even as she gleefully tries on one extravagant mask after another, you never, ever sense any irony or pageantry. I love the more mature, seamless The Hounds of Love (1985) as much as any rock critic, but as a fan, I fervently adore this one's layers, invention, cruel wit, breathtaking segues, and overall inspired weirdness--not to mention that definitive moment in "Get Out Of My House" when Bush's operatic howl perfectly morphs into a braying ass.