31 Best Songs From 1998

1998 was a big year – Google was founded, Bill Clinton denied having “relations” with Monica Lewinsky, and Furbies were flying off the toy store shelves. The year was also one of the biggest in the 1990s for music. Let's dive into the best songs from 1998.

“…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears

Song year: 1998

Britney Spears was only 16 when “…Baby One More Time” became a hit. She'd been a star of the MMC but had trouble breaking into the music industry. The catchy pop hit would propel her to stardom and become one of the biggest pop songs of all time. Even Britney's look in the video became iconic.

“All My Life” by K-Ci and JoJo

Song year: 1998

“All My Life” was one of the top R&B songs of 1998. The duo were members of the group Jodeci and split to do their own music. JoJo wrote the song for his young daughter.

The ballad became a popular choice for “last dances” at proms and “first dances” at weddings. The song received numerous nominations, including Grammy and MTV Video Music Awards nods.

“Intergalactic” by The Beastie Boys

Song year: 1998

“Intergalactic” has a rich history. It came about when Mike D, one of the Beastie Boys, was playing around with a vocoder. It was originally intended for an album released in 1993 but didn't make the cut.

By 1998, the song was ready to be a hit. Fans loved the wacky lyrics and the cheesy video based on Japanese kaiju films.

“In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel

Song year: 1998

In the 90s, indie music was still far from the mainstream but still contributed to good music from 1998. Neutral Milk Hotel had a small following that would grow in the 2000s when indie became more popular with the masses.

Their song (and also album) “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” became one of the greatest indie hits of all time. The song is one of the rare all-encompassing songs that touch on the wonder of life, existence, death, love, and even Anne Frank.

“Ray of Light” by Madonna

Song year: 1998

Madonna's album Ray of Light featured a new, modern sound and proved that the Queen of Pop could keep up with the younger singers climbing the charts. “Ray of Light” was the second single off the album.

Madonna had just had her first child, Lourdes, the year before. Her daughter's birth sparked Madonna's interest in spirituality, and the song was written partially for her daughter and her newfound religion.

“Crush” by Dave Matthews Band

Song year: 1998

“Crush” is a single off DMB's Before These Crowded Streets. The album recording was a bit of a mess as the band had booked studio time but no songs written. Songs had to be written quickly.

Matthews wrote the song as an ode to women. He was inspired to start the song with the word “Crazy” from the Willie Nelson song “Crazy” (sung by Patsy Cline).

“The Boy Is Mine” by Monica and Brandy

Song year: 1998

In 1998, Brandy and Monica were two of the top R&B singers. It only made sense for the two to team up for a song about a boy who was playing them both. Rumors of the girls' real-life rivalry, including an alleged physical altercation, only fueled the drama.

However, Monica recently stated that there was no animosity between the two. It was all exaggerated to sell singles.

“Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” by Jay-Z

Song year: 1998

No one expected Jay-Z to sample the Broadway musical Annie, but he did and somehow made it work. He took the lyrics of the original about the challenges of being an orphan and transposed those to the challenges of life in the ghetto.

The song marked an important moment for Jay-Z, who was planning to retire before getting the idea for this song.

“Closing Time” by Semisonic

Song year: 1998

By 1998, the pop-rock-alternative movement was in full swing. Semisonic came onto the scene with a seemingly simple song about a bar closing and forcing its patrons to return to the real world.

The band later revealed that the song was also about the birth of the lead singer's daughter. It received a Grammy nomination and was a one-hit wonder for the band.

“I Don't Want To Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

Song year: 1998

By 1998, Aerosmith was a well-established rock band. Their song “I Don't Want To Miss a Thing” brought their music to a younger generation. Diane Warren wrote the song after being inspired by James Brolin and Barbara Streisand.

She wrote the song for the film Armageddon, which was fitting as the film was about a crew trying to save the earth from an asteroid.

“Ghetto Superstar” by Pras, Ol' Dirty Bastard, and Mya

Song year: 1998

In another unlikely rap sample, Pras used a melody from Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers's “Islands in the Stream” for his Grammy-nominated hit.

O.D.B. was never intended to be on the track. He wandered into the studio where Pras was recording, thinking it was his studio. He heard the song, jumped on the track, and the rest is history.

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