Start at the wikipedia page of the year of your birth, and pick the best (or your favorite) album from each year you've been alive.
1968—Beggars Banquet - The Rolling Stones
1969—Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
1970—Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel
1971—Sticky Fingers - The Rolling Stones
1972—Exile on Main St. - The Rolling Stones
1973—Countdown to Ecstasy - Steely Dan
1974—Feats Don't Fail Me Now - Little Feat
1975—Blood on the Tracks - Bob Dylan
1976—2112 - Rush
1977—Seconds Out (live) - Genesis
1978—Van Halen - Van Halen (debut)
1979—London Calling - The Clash
1980—Peter Gabriel(Melting) - Peter Gabriel
1981—Moving Pictures - Rush
1982—Three Sides Live – Genesis
1983—Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughan
1984—Couldn't Stand the Weather - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
1985—The Firm - The Firm
1986—Graceland - Paul Simon
1987—The Joshua Tree - U2
1988—It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
1989—Let Love Rule - Lenny Kravitz
1990—Shake Your Money Maker - The Black Crowes (debut)
Man, some of those were really tough—1969, 1976 and 1978 were standout years. My selections were based heavily on longevity and my current opinion over my feelings at the time—in some cases I was uninitiated to (Feat, SRV) or even disliked (Kravitz) the album I now select as a favorite.
It's late and stopping right before the upheaval of my taste in the 90s seems like a good place to call it a night... to be continued...
UPDATE: Back at it...
1991—Nevermind - Nirvana
I have avoided ties thusfar, and to keep that streak alive, I will give Nevermind the edge over Pearl Jam's Ten by a scruffy beard hair.
Quite possibly the greatest year in the history of music, 1991 was a watershed moment for me. During my years in college, and immediately after, I became addicted to hi-fi, bought CDs by the
Gish - The Smashing Pumpkins
Badmotorfinger - Soundgarden
Girlfriend - Matthew Sweet
Achtung Baby - U2
Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Out of Time - R.E.M.
Are you fucking kidding me? Most of those would have won in any other year.
1992—Little Earthquakes - Tori Amos
That's a total upset! But, looking at the list, it's the one that stands apart. Most of the also-rans had other great years and albums besides their 1992 releases, but this was absolutely the peak for Amos, and a big album for me. (Truth be told, dada's Puzzle would win if it made wikipedia's list.)
While perhaps not as revolutionary as the previous year, 1992 was every bit as strong. Check it out...
The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion - The Black Crowes
Copper Blue - Sugar
Core - Stone Temple Pilots
Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
Dirt - Alice in Chains
1993—Siamese Dream - The Smashing Pumpkins
Moved back to NY, and was in full WDRE-mode. This was really the year of the chick rock for me...Liz Phair, Breeders, Belly, etc.
The early '90s is really when I was in my musical "nirvana." I was making even more money and living in NY, going to concerts all the time, and the radio was just kicking ass. That said, I'm going to try and rein it in and bring these entries back down to one.
1994—Throwing Copper - Live
1995—The Bends - Radiohead
This should probably be Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball, but I can't find it on the list...
1996—Odelay - Beck
1997—The Colour and the Shape - Foo Fighters
1998—Gentleman's Blues - Cracker
NOTE: The stuff I like is still good, but much of it is falling shy of wikipedia's lists—there is a lot of crap in there now. Many of the early nineties greats have fallen apart by now...
1999—The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner - Ben Folds Five
2000—All That You Can't Leave Behind - U2
After the tough choices faced in the nineties, 2000 was shockingly weak. I went up and own the list repeatedly looking for an album that even approached the stature of the previous years. It wasn't there. Ultimately, it was between mediocre Elliott Smith and mediocre U2...
2001—Comfort Eagle - Cake
Even weaker than 2000.
2002—One by One - Foo Fighters
The fact that their label tried to spike Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot should tell why these are the years I stopped listening to anything but NPR...
2003—Elephant - The White Stripes
Awesome album, but I didn't find it until years later...still in my music sabbatical it would seem. This wiki list is shit.
2004—Fucking garbage. There are only a handful on this list I would even play never mind call "favorite or best." I'll give it to U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, I guess. I am really disgruntled right now.
2005—Get Behind Me Satan - The White Stripes
Ah, redemption. This album single-handedly yanked me from my music coma. Props to Mrs F for making me check it out. Otherwise I might still be wandering in the desert. It's why I worship at the alter of Jack White. I owe him. Big time.
2006—Broken Boy Soldiers - The Raconteurs (see above)
2007—Because of the Times - Kings of Leon
And as if there was any doubt...
2008—Consolers of the Lonely—The Raconteurs
Asserting itself as an all-time great album. I can't get enough of it. Don;t think I've gone more than a day or two without playing some of it.
Phew. Not sure if that was fun or torture, but there it is.
(Mike, Toast, Smitty, Fridge, Angelos, Rickey and the rest of you should take this opportunity to get crackin'. Rob, I expect yours in the comments.)