The 10 best songs of 1998 were an eclectic bunch including hip hop, dance-pop, straightforward rock ‘n roll, and revived 1950’s swing music. From music’s jiggiest rapper to its Titanic queen of melodrama, here’s a list of the best songs of 1998.
- “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” Will Smith. “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” was one of the biggest rap hits of the decade thanks to its infectious beat, which came courtesy of a sample of a Sister Sledge disco song. The track was a chart phenomenon for six months and took Will Smith to the next level of superstardom.
- “Fly Away,” Lenny Kravitz. “Fly Away” was vintage Lenny Kravitz, a rocking song with a heavy guitar riff and impressive vocals. The topped the rock charts and earned Kravitz the first of four straight Male Rock Vocal Performance Grammy Awards.
- “One Week,” Barenaked Ladies. Ed Robertson’s lightning-fast delivery of scattershot lyrics about Aquaman and anime babes made “One Week” one of the best songs of 1998. The song remains popular among karaoke singers, who usually find themselves outmatched.
- “Believe,” Cher. No one expected Cher to score a smash hit and become a musical innovator at the age of 52, but she pulled off both feats with “Believe.” The dance track was the biggest hit of her career and was the first major hit to make use of Auto-Tune, the computerized effect that is now common throughout the music industry.
- “Jump, Jive An’ Wail,” Brian Setzer Orchestra. Former Stray Cats singer Brian Setzer resurfaced with an entirely new sound in 1998. His swing band’s remake of a 1956 Louis Prima hit first appeared in commercials for The Gap, then raced up the charts as people embraced its classic style.
- “Changes,” 2Pac. One of Tupac Shakur’s biggest posthumous hits was “Changes”, which extensively samples “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and the Range. The insightful song was one of the best lyrical efforts of 2Pac’s career and clearly one of the best songs of 1998.
- “Ray of Light,” Madonna. Madonna hooked up with electronic musician/producer William Orbit and revitalized her career with “Ray of Light.” Clearly one of the best songs of 1998, the optimistic track was a huge hit on dance floors and radio dials across the nation.
- “You Get What You Give,” New Radicals. Catchy pop songs don’t get much better than “You Get What You Give,” which added touches of soul and dance to the standard pop-rock format. It led to Gregg Alexander’s band New Radicals becoming one of the biggest one-hit wonders of the ‘90s.
- “Iris,” Goo Goo Dolls. The Goo Goo Dolls were once a hard-rocking band but established themselves as kings of the rock ballad with “Name” and “Iris.” The latter song, from the "City of Angels" movie, went top ten and earned three Grammy nods.
- “My Heart Will Go On,” Celine Dion. Sure, it’s a sappy "Titanic" tearjerker, but “My Heart Will Go On” was the biggest hit from the biggest movie of all-time. The emotional song connected with so many people that it must be included from the list of the best songs of 1998.
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