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Top 10 Pop Songs of 1998


1998 was a year of musical diversity. From Celine Dion's traditional big pop ballad "My Heart Will Go On" to Madonna and Jay-Z pushing musical boundaries with their latest work. Musical eclecticism is the order of the day for 1998.

1. Madonna - "Ray Of Light"

Courtesy Warner Bros.

With her first completely new studio album in 4 years, Madonna brought electronica to the top of the pop charts. Working with collaborator William Orbit, the music sounded fresh, new, and invigorating.

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2. Jay-Z - "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)"

Jay-Z - Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)
Courtesy Roc-a-Fella

Jay-Z consolidated his status as the best of East Coast rappers with this brilliant single that weaves a showstopping number from the Broadway musical Annie into a stunning hip hop opus. Pop audiences were made aware that the range of experimentation in hip hop was limitless.

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3. Backstreet Boys - "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"

Backstreet Boys - Everybody (Backstreet's Back)
Courtesy Jive Records

With the backlash against boy bands, too few remember that some great pop songs were recorded by these all male vocal groups. This is a pop masterpiece that helped the Backstreet Boys conquer the hearts of millions.

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4. Deborah Cox - "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here"

Deborah Cox - Nobody's Supposed To Be Here
Courtesy Arista

This song is a gorgeous r&b ballad, but revved up with a club mix, it is one of the top dance hits of the decade. Record industry execs intended Deborah Cox to be the next Whitney Houston. That didn't quite work, but she did contribute this timeless smash.

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5. Sarah McLachlan - "Adia"

Sarah McLachlan - Adia
Courtesy Arista

Sarah McLachlan's voice is almost other-worldly in its beauty. This single came out as the Lilith Fair all-female concert tour, organized by McLachlan, was kicking into gear.

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6. Ben Folds Five - "Brick"

Ben Folds Five - Brick
Courtesy Epic

Ben Folds and company brought the issue of abortion on to the pop charts, from a male point of view. A particularly fascinating twist is that it seems the male narrator of the song is selfish and a bit of a jerk. Lyrically, this is one of the most unique major hit songs of the 90's.

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7. Will Smith - "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"

Will Smith - Gettin' Jiggy Wit It
Courtesy Sony

Will Smith set out solo for the first time, and the results were very pleasing. His brand of clean, good-humored, party hip hop caught on instantly.

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8. Alanis Morissette - "Uninvited"

Alanis Morissette - Uninvited
Courtesy Maverick

This is one of Alanis Morissette's most memorable, and lyrically uncluttered, songs. The gothic, foreboding musical textures match well with her vocal intensity.

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9. Barenaked Ladies - "One Week"

Barenaked Ladies - One Week
Courtesy Reprise Records

For many, the mileage varied on Barenaked Ladies' breakthrough hit. The pure kinetic energy of "One Week" certainly invigorated pop radio playlists, but a little of the cheeky, self-indulgent humor can go a long way.

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10. Celine Dion - "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From 'Titanic')"

Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme from 'Titanic')
Courtesy Columbia

This was certainly one of the most over-played ballads of the year. However, if you listen once again, the song is beautiful, and Celine Dion is one of the most reliable voices in the business.

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