An undisputed musical genius. Brian Wilson was the architect behind the Beach Boys' sound, pioneer of (still) modern recording techniques, and a musical free-thinker in the often straight-jacketed world of pop music. Since then, times have been tough for Wilson, and his personal struggles have been well documented in the press. While his recordings with the Beach Boys remain essential to every citizen on this earth, his eclectic solo career has its own rewards. His 1988 self-titled debut actually sounds even better today than when it first came out. An oddball meeting of synths and grand orchestral pop, it's what so many Indie bands out there are feverishly trying to sound like. Imagination (1998) has another batch of very good tunes that share a touch of Randy Newman's bright/bitter melodic sense. He may be responsible for much of the best pop music of the 1960s, but there are plenty of symphonic chanteys left in this salty old sea dog.