This turned out to be harder than I thought. I got to 12 before I knew it, and had to do some editing. So here it is, my stranded-on-an-island-with-only-15-albums list
“The Crow” Soundtrack. For years, one of my favorite soundtracks, until it was replaced by...
“Lost Highway” Soundtrack. NIN, Bowie, Ramstein, Lou Reed covering 'This Magic Moment,' and some great instrumentals. I still haven't seen the movie, but the album takes you on enough of a journey in and of itself.
Aerosmith, “Honkin' on Bobo.” Here, they cover some blues standards that influenced them in their formative years. Up-beat energy, and great musicianship.
The Beastie Boys “Check Your Head.” With this album, they explored a Hip Hop/Punk/Jazz hybrid that really worked for them, featuring several instrumentals. I found the bass playing really inspirational.
Korn “Greatest Hits.” How can I choose one? When I first heard the guitars re-enter after the bridge on 'Freak On A Leash,' it was like being hit with the broad-side of a van.
The Tea Party “Transmission.” If you aren't so lucky as to know The Tea Party, they're a Canadian trio who's single “Temptation” got them the most attention. They stayed on the radar for another three albums, but got a less fickle following in Europe and Australia. Their first two albums (“Splendour Solace” and “Edges of Twilight” sound like Led Zepplin with Jim Morrison singing; easy to market, but easier to write-off as “wanna-be's.” Truth is the music is beautiful and intricate. “Transmission,” their third, added synth/industrial tones to the mix, and boy howdy, it worked!
The Tea Party “Interzone Mantras.” Their fifth album, and their best. Their Acoustic/Electric/Blues/Eastern hybrid had matured and gelled into something wonderful.
Alanah Myles “A-La-Nah.” She's mostly remembered for her late-Eighties first album hit “Black Velvet,” but her third album saw her doing a lot more of the song writing. It had a more European flavor, and I hear something new every time I give it a listen.
Sinead O'Conner “The Lion and the Cobra.” She's mostly remembered for her late-Eighties tearing of the Pope's picture on SNL. But her first album has aged well.
Prince “Ultimate Collection.” How do I pick just one? This collection has all my favorites (Including “7,” “Thieves in the Temple,” and “Alphabet Street.”), and a disc of re-mixes.
Nine Inch Nails “The Fragile.” Another double CD, with my favorite NIN song, “We're All In This Together Now.” And plenty of other great songs.
Undercover “Devotion.” This Christian band was more punk in the Eighties, but by the early '90's, they were recording what sounded like prog-rockers attempting mainstream. With “Balance of Power,” they seemed to be exploring a pretty serious crisis of faith, very honestly. With “Devotion,” they had made their peace with their Maker, and it resulted in a timeless album.
Rage Against The Machine “Battle of Los Angeles.” Again, how do I pick one? I had to go with the most favorite songs.
Fear Factory “Archetype.” About ten years into their career, FF are exploring the relationship between Humanity and their machines. Possibly the heaviest music I listen to, they still strike a good balance between screaming and singing.
Johnny Cash. “The Legend of...” One of the few JC collections with old hits and new, including his song with U2, one with The Highwaymen, and the Soundgarden & NIN covers he did. I dare you to watch the video for “Hurt.” without tearing-up.
With that, I'll also bring a guitar, so I can try to mimic all of the wonderful music I had to leave behind. “Try” is the operative word.