The albums I actually listened to in 1998

Sure, I love In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by the Neutral Milk Hotel. But there’s no way I was cool enough to listen to it when it came out in 1998. I discovered that years later. The same applies to From the Choirgirl Hotel by Tori Amos, A Thousand Leaves by Sonic Youth, and Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life by Jay-Z. In the spirit of Pitchfork and all the other websites doing 1998 retrospectives, I take a look at what I, an eighteen year old in New Zealand, actually listened to in 1998 and how it stacks up in retrospect.

Wave these proudly

Air — Moon Safari

Bring It On — Gomez

Mezzanine — Massive Attack

Psyence Fiction — UNKLE

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby — Fatboy Slim

Roseland NYC Live — Portishead


This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours — Manic Street Preachers

The Shape of Punk to Come — Refused


Yield — Pearl Jam

Nu-Clear Sounds — Ash

Up — R.E.M.

Thankfully I never

These records were everywhere in 1998. They sucked then and they most definitely suck now.

Feeling Strangely Fine — Semisonic

Try Whistling This — Neil Finn

Americana — The Offspring

Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too — New Radicals

Dizzy Up the Girl — Goo Goo Dolls

Follow the Leader — Korn

System of a Down — System of a Down


Guitar music was apparently at a nadir in 1998. The electronic music I liked in 1998 still holds up today, and I still regularly listen to Massive Attack, Air and UNKLE. I didn’t think it would go that way.

Looking through the list of albums released that year, there are a lot of records that are follow-ups to massive successes. Alanis Morrissette, Hootie and the Blowfish, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, among others, all released albums that didn’t get close to the success of their albums that feature the only songs anyone can name from them…  (Ironic, I Only Wanna Be With You, and Scooby Snacks, respectively). Success is a fickle, elusive bitch.

The albums I actually listened to in 1998

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