9. The Cars - The Cars
One of the subgenres of rock that tends to get lost in the shuffle in the '70s is power pop. At a time when most people were trading generic blues licks with each other or jumping down the prog rabbit hole, there was a bunch of kids with a gift for melody and sick of listening to stuff like disco on the radio. While Cheap Trick and Big Star may have laid the groundwork for the genre, the Cars' debut is power pop distilled down to a science.
Compared to the rest of the hacks trying to make their way through pop songs, these rough and tumble rockers from Boston were the real deal, weaving together complex guitar parts with some of the most pop friendly material of the time. Even though many of the other albums of the time were coming from the beginnings of new wave like the Police or Devo, songs like Just What I Needed and My Best Friend's Girl had just the right amount of pop smarts mixed with teenage romanticism.
That's before you even get to the production, with Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker putting everything together and giving a sonic sheen to the entire thing. The Cars may have a greatest hits album to their name, but this one record is really all you need.