9. The Top (1984): The strangest album in a catalog full of strange albums, The Top came together from the chaos of a massive reboot of sound, lineup, and intent. After the emotional toll of releasing Pornography in 1982, the band practically fell apart. Longtime bassist Simon Gallup stormed off in a huff, and Robert Smith considered putting the whole thing to bed. Instead, he tossed off a few "throwaway" singles (including "Let's Go To Bed" and "Love Cats") with programmed drums and synthesizers, and inadvertently reinvented the band as something lighter and poppier than they'd been since "Boys Don't Cry." Naturally, when it came time to make a new album, Smith took the new, lighter direction ... and threw it out the window, instead making the batshit, bugfuck freakout that is The Top. It's all dark and densely arranged psychedelia dipped in a thick coating of weird, like the score for a Jim Henson movie set in a haunted rainforest. Jittery keys, fake ethnic instrumentation (synth pan-pipes?), and dissonant bass chords abound, sounding utterly unlike anything they'd done before or anyone else would ever do. MGMT would pick up some of these threads years later, but never went half as far. Minor classics like "Bananafishbones," "Dressing Up," and "The Caterpillar" are all so absurd they can't help but tickle your ribs. At the time, no one "got" this album; the weird was too much. But that's part of the lasting appeal -- there's a lot here to unlock.