First for music news
This Week's Issue
You’re logged in

NME Blogs - NME Blogs

What Was The Best Track Of 1998?

By Dan Martin

Posted on 18 Oct 11

 
 

And so to the third installment of our whistlestop tour through NME.COM’s lifespan. In compiling our 150 Greatest Tracks Of The Last 15 Years, we couldn’t help but cast our eyes over the favourite track lists of those who went before us.

And so to 1998: a strange year for indie; the beginning of a temporary wind-down, as Britpop headed face first into a slump; three whole years before The Strokes would tear everything down with their explosive year zero. This was the Top Ten at the time.




1. Beastie Boys – Intergalactic
2. Super Furry Animals – Ice Hockey Hair EP
3. Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You
4. Mercury Rev – Goddess On A Hiway
5. Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
6. Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha
7. The Beta Band – The Patty Patty Sound Ep
8. Pulp – This Is Hardcore
9. The Beta Band – Los Amigos Del Beta Bandos Ep
10. Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank

Firstly you notice that the only two entries of the year from what you might call the indie heroes of the 1990s come in with uncharacteristically sombre moments. ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’ gave the Manics their first Number One, and is a classic, but remains among their most icy and mid-paced (it's a song about the Welsh ‘International Brigades’ who went off to fight in the Spanish Civil War). Pulp’s ‘This Is Hardcore’, meanwhile, is one of their finest ever singles, but it’s also a high-minded funereal dirge that you don’t associate with the arch swagger of their classic era.



So in the face of that, and if we’re judging best single, in the purest sense, as something you can dance to, Beastie Boys’ body-hoppin’ ‘Intergalactic’ stands up as a fair punt for the best of the year. It remains an indie disco classic to this day.

By that same token, while Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ hasn’t endured quite so well it was a crucial moment in the French house resurgence, ushered in by Daft Punk, that would come to dominate the airwaves. And, actually, having been reminded of it, I’m off to iTunes to download as it soon as I finish typing this. Also representing France further down the list are Air, with two classics ‘Sexy Boy’ and ‘Kelly Watch The Stars’.



The rest of the chart paints a similar picture of music on the turn. So you have some properly beautiful US indie in the form of Mercury Rev’s ‘Goddess On A Hiway’ and Elliott Smith’s ‘The Ballad Of Big Nothing’, two stellar precursors to what we would come to know as ‘blog music’. But faced with a barrage of names like Ultrasound, Embrace, Campag Velocet, Delakota, Catatonia Depth Charge, Babybird and Idlewild and it’s little surprise that indie was set to take a nosedive from popularity. Arab Strap can stay, but that’s just about it.



Though none of them made it particularly high, you can see that sea-change occurring with placings for Jurassic 5’s ‘Concrete Schoolyard’, ‘Brandy And Monica’s ‘The Boy Is Mine’, Lauryn Hill’s ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’. The following year, as indie went terminal, TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’ would be Number One. Before long, Beyonce would be all-powerful.

So how do you think the Top 50 tracks of 1998 stand up? As ever, let us know your thoughts below.

NME's Albums and Tracks Of The Year – 1998

1. Beastie Boys – Intergalactic
2. Super Furry Animals – Ice Hockey Hair EP
3. Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You
4. Mercury Rev – Goddess On A Hiway
5. Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
6. Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha
7. The Beta Band – The Patty Patty Sound Ep
8. Pulp – This Is Hardcore
9. The Beta Band – Los Amigos Del Beta Bandos Ep
10. Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank
11. Primal Scream – It They Move, Kill ‘Em (Arkestra Mix)
12. Hole – Celebrity Skin
13. Elliott Smith – The Ballad Of Big Nothing
14. Air – Sexy Boy
15. Low Fidelity All Stars – Vision Incision
16. Ultrasound – Stay Young
17. Grandaddy – Summer Here Kids
18. Jurassic 5 – Concrete Schoolyard
19. Catatonia – Road Rage
20. Clinic – Cement Mixer
21. Air – Kelly Watch The Stars
22. Massive Attack – Teardrop
23. Black Box Recorder – Child Psychology
24. Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing)
25. Embrace – Come Back To What You Know
26. Clinic – Monkey On Your Back
27. Six By Seven – 88-92-96
28. Asian Dub Foundation – Free Satpal Ram
29. Asian Dub Foundation – Naxalite
30. PJ Harvey – A Perfect Day Elise
31. Jungle Brothers – Jungle Brother
32. Les Rythmes Digitales – Music Make You Lose Control
33. Brandy And Monica – The Boy Is Mine
34. Radiohead – No Suprises
35. Mogwai – No Education = No Future (Fuck The Curfew)
36. Four Tet – Thirty Six Twenty Five
37. Mojave Three – Who Do You Love?
38. Arab Strap – Here We Go/Trippy
39. Depth Charge – Blue Lips
40. Campag Velocet – Sauntry Sly Chic
41. Delakota – C’mon Cincinnati
42. Cornershop – Sleep On The Left Side
43. Baby Bird – Bad Old Man
44. Bomb 20 – Flip Burgers Or Die
45. Asian Dub Foundation – Buzzin’
46. Wildchild – Renegade Master
47. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Let’s Get Together
48. Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In La
49. Idlewild – Everyone Says You’re So Fragile
50. Robbie Williams – Millennium

NME's Albums & Tracks Of The Year

 
 
 
Comments

Please login to add your comment.

 
Latest Tickets - Booking Now
 
Know Your NME
 

 
NME Store & Framed Prints
Inside NME.COM