31 Best Songs From 1998

“You Get What You Give” by New Radicals

Song year: 1998

“You Get What You Give” became an anthem for 90s youth who didn't want to sell out but wanted to make the world a better place. Gregg Alexander took the name The New Radicals for the album, which was his third after getting dropped by two previous labels.

The song went on to become a one-hit wonder, and Alexander moved into songwriting and production, but it's still considered among the good music from 1998.

“Wide Open Spaces” by The Chicks

Song year: 1998

In 1998, The Chicks released their first studio album, Wide Open Spaces. The title track was the second song released and was an instant hit.

The girls didn't write the song. It was written in 1993 by college student Susan Gibson and focused on a girl's need to strike out on her own. The song became one of the top country songs of the 1990s.

“Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” by The Offspring

Song year: 1998

The Offspring wrote “Pretty Fly” to call out suburban white boys who pretended to be gangsters in the 1990s. The song and its music video are silly, and people enjoyed it mostly as a novelty song. The melody is catchy, and it's still played in films and on TV.

“Too Close” by Next

Song year: 1998

Next's “Too Close” was one of the most listened-to songs of 1998. The context of the song is fairly simple – a young man and a woman are dancing, he gets excited, and she tells him to back up. The song was particularly popular at high school dances, and many schools wound up banning the type of dancing suggested in the song.

“A Rose Is Still a Rose” by Aretha Franklin

Song year: 1998

No one expected the 1960s queen of R&B, Aretha Franklin, to have a hit in the 1990s, but she did. Her song “A Rose Is Still a Rose” is a feminist anthem with a timeless quality and was the first single off her 37th album. Lauryn Hill, an R&B goddess in her own right, wrote the song for Franklin.

Hill intended the song to be from the perspective of an older woman talking to a young woman who slept with a guy and then left. The song reminds that girl that she still has value and is much more than what happened to her.

The song resonates with Franklin's own story (she had her first child at 13) and the larger story of how the country has viewed black women.

“Foolish Games” by Jewel

"Foolish Games" by Jewel

Song year: 1997-1998

Jewel started working on “Foolish Games” at the age of 16. She wrote in her journal about a boy she liked who didn't seem to notice her. She eventually turned it into a poem and then a song.

The song is number 22 on Billboard's top 100 songs of all time and once held a Guinness World Record for the longest chart run.

“Rockafeller Skank” by Fatboy Slim

Song year: 1998

“Rockafeller Skank,” also known as “Funk Soul Brother,” was a 1998 masterpiece by DJ Fatboy Slim. The song samples several songs, particularly lesser-known tracks. The lyrics are repetitive, making it more about the sound than the meaning. It's become a dance hit, especially after being featured as a dance number in the teen film She's All That.

“I Don't Want To Wait” by Paula Cole

Song year: 1998

The song “I Don't Want To Wait” has become almost synonymous with the 90s teen drama Dawson's Creek. But the song itself has a deeper meaning. Cole wrote the song about her grandparents, their tumultuous marriage, World War II, and their son (her father).

Cole intended the song to be about righting the wrongs of past generations and women getting a chance to do what they wanted.

“Fly Away” by Lenny Kravitz

Song year: 1998

Kravitz had already finished his album 5 when he happened to pick up a guitar, and it made a riff sound. He quickly wrote the song and intended it as a B-side for the album. A friend talked him into calling his producer and getting it added to the songs.

It became one of his biggest hits and even won a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

“Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden

Song year: 1998

Like many great songs, “Truly Madly Deeply” is one that grew over a few years. The duo worked on it off and on, but it wasn't until lead singer Darren Hayes was away from his family and wife for the first time that he found the inspiration for the lyrics.

The song was an instant success and is now considered one of the best love songs of the 90s. It spent 52 weeks on the charts.

“Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls

Song year: 1998

By 1998, the Goo Goo Dolls had been a band for 12 years and only had one hit. Lead Johnny Rzeznik was struggling to write another hit. He was asked to write a song for the film City of Angels about an angel who falls in love with a human woman.

The plot prompted Rzeznik's songwriting, and it became one of the band's biggest hits.

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