8. It's Hard (1982)
The cover of It's Hard is classic. Maybe more "classic" in the Urban Dictionary-level vernacular than in the Greek sense -- despite a rolling opening number entitled "Athena." But, the art is a doozy: The Who (now with Kenney Jones on the sticks) are gathered in an arcade, staring around the room while a boy plays an Atari machine in the background. It's a tacit nod to Tommy and, also, an acknowledgement of the band's new time and place.
It was 1982, the same year as Neil Young's Trans: All of the groups born out of the 1960s that were still breathing were trying to figure out just what to do. And despite some unfortunate synth flourishes and lazy lyrics (the opening lines of "It's Your Turn" read, "Up here on a ledge / I'm getting pushed to the edge"), It's Hard succeeds. The Who doesn't break too far from its rock mold and good on 'em: The cruising title track, innuendo-laden moniker and all, moves along the same tracks as Springsteen's "Badlands" and, while it didn't come to define the Cold War era, "I've Known No War" is aggressive and poignant.