Idea nicked from Karen, without waiting to be tagged and it's all 10 choices (plus a lot of cheating mentions of other albums) in one go because I won't remember to keep up with it. Have a go if you feel like it. Remember it's not strictly a "10 favourite albums" meme but ones that influenced you. The original meme was also to post covers without context, but I don't see the fun in that.
1. Meat Loaf: Bat out of Hell II
First album I bought, off someone at school, with honourable mentions to Iron Maiden: Powerslave and the 2CD Best of the Beast, both of which I originally taped from the copies in Kingswinford library, and the Quality Special Products "Hard N' Heavy" cassette I found in Asda which including Judas Priest, Dio, Megadeth, Bruce Dickinson, Skid Row and and a load of other stuff that got me off to a good start. I also found the Beautiful South around this time, who've lasted as long-term favourites, and The Rembrandts (of the Friends theme song fame) who haven't.
2. Green Day: Dookie
Representing college favourites such as Nirvana, Ash, anything punchier than Britpop, and friends' bands such as Charlotte. For the indie stuff now, I'd generally recommend compilations such as Untitled 2 or best ofs such as Ash's Intergalactic Sonic 7's, although Oasis and Nirvana have aged surprisingly well.
3. The Wildhearts: Endless Nameless
I'd already found the Wildhearts through PHUQ-era cassette singles and the UK best of, but this (at the time marking the implosion of the band) remains a cathartic wall of noise and a go-to record for decompressing.
4. Cradle of Filth: Cruelty and the Beast
I don't remember how I first heard Cradle, I think it was more magazine articles, the cover of Hallowed Be Thy Name on another magazine CD, and finding out that Cruelty was a) a story and concept album, and b) heavily inspired by vampires and Elizabeth Bathory, and I've always appreciated the Anne Rice / netgoth / Anthony Hopkins chewing the scenery in Bram Stoker's Dracula thing. Recently remastered and re-released. Nymphetamine's my other most favourite of theirs.
5. The Crimea: Tragedy Rocks (self-release)
Representing a whole category of Welsh/uni rock, with The Crocketts, The Hot Puppies, Murry The Hump / The Keys, plus indies and friends: Pagan Wanderer Lu, The Grubby Adipose Flange, etc. Tracks such as Out of Africa, Lottery Winners on Acid and Bombay Sapphire Coma represent a good part of anything I've got that could be termed a soul.
6. Less Than Jake: Hello Rockview / Losing Streak
Absorbed from friends, with honourable mentions to Catch 22, Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, Mary Prankster, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Rancid, etc. and Borders and Boundaries is also good for a more reflective mood. I'd also be remiss in not mentioning Californication and By The Way.
7. Eels: Daisies of the Galaxy
Ditto, and goes together with albums such as Regina Spektor's Begin to Hope & Soviet Kitsch, Marit Bergman's Baby Dry Your Eye, Pixies' Wave of Mutilation, and self-finds such as Helen Love's Love, Glitter, Hot Days and Music, Spray's Living in Neon and Children of a Laser God, etc.
8. Kamikaze Radio: Sex, Drugs and Sushi Rolls
An EP representing going back to old favourites and finding they've done new music; in this case, Boy Kicks Girl who I originally stumbled across on MP3.com before it got bought out. That site was a treasure trove, also signposting bands as diverse as Leighton B Watts (outback guitar music) and Jack Off Jill.
9. Sabaton: Carolus Rex
More story-based music, hard rock or battle metal, whatever you want to call it. If you can find the Ukrainian release it's got a neat clean vocals cover of Amon Amarth's Twilight of the Thunder God at the end. On a completely different end of the rock spectrum, the Hey! Hello self-titled debut (one of many Ginger Wildheart side-projects, and my favourite of those) is a surefire summer hit.
10. The Cybertronic Spree: Transformers 1986
A recent one this, live cover versions joyously celebrating the original Transfomers: The Movie soundtrack album. Like story albums, soundtracks and musicals are a bit of a fave, whether it's the Wombles or Rocky Horror.
Older "favourites" music posts:
Postscript from the future of 2023: when I came to pick 10 album covers for wall prints representing my first twenty years, because despite still preferring to buy CDs they're mostly stored as backups on spindles, I realised I'd managed to miss out Motörhead because, despite them always being present, all of my listening was compilations, singles, magazine cover CDs and NWOBHM retrospectives. The ten album covers I ended up with were, in order of release: Powerslave / Bat out of Hell II / Dookie / (What's the Story) Morning Glory? / Endless, Nameless / Cruelty and the Beast / We May Be Skinny & Wirey / Hello Rockview / Daisies of the Galaxy / We Are Motörhead. So not wildly different to this list, but more about lasting emotional connections.