Let's go back in time (coz hey, that’s what we do here at ILYOS) 20 years to 1998 to remember where we were at, rock music wise.
The ARIA chart was littered with dancy stuff, mashups, and typically forgettable pop that we’d add to jukebox party out of irony (but secretly sing and dance along to). However, amongst the coal, we found some diamonds that year, let’s dive into the rock from 1998.
One obvious highlight was The Living End with their double A-Side of "Second Solution/Prisoner of Society".
This 3 piece rockabilly band out of Wheelers Hill in Victoria came together at school a few years before then slayed people with this release. It was the best selling Australian single of the 1990’s and stayed in the ARIA top 100 for a record SIXTY-NINE weeks. Off the back of the success of this blistering EP, they headed into the studio and recorded their debut eponymous album.
Something a little different from The Offspring in 1998 was their piss-take hit "Pretty Fly For A White Guy".
I think that’s why it resonated so well here in Australia, it appealed to our sense of humour and went 6 times platinum here after spending a good amount of time in the #1 spot on the ARIA charts. The song is obviously about a poser, but the bands have said it’s not just about this style of poser, it's any trend hopper who does it to try to stay cool, instead of just being themselves.
Great film clip to this one perfectly depicts just that.
In 1998, there was one song from a punk band that wasn’t punk at all. It was an acoustic tome (with added string section), short in length but one that became the highlight reel for EVERYONE, including Seinfeld.
Green Day – "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" become a monster from the Nimrod album, but it was actually written before the band’s Dookie recording sessions, however, it wasn’t deemed suitable to use on an album till years later due to it sounding just too different from everything on Dookie.
Formals, debutant balls, video montages, you name it... this song was used.
The polar opposite of what The Living End gave us in 1998, belonged to Aerosmith. No stranger to a power ballad, "I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing" was DRIPPING with cheese and sap. It was performed for the movie Armageddon, in which Steve Tyler’s daughter Liv starred in, this had all the hallmarks of mushiness.
It debuted at #1 in the States (their first in 28 years), and reached #1 here in Australia and introduced the band to a whole new audience, and like Green Day’s classic, this too remains a staple to formals, dances and weddings.
This next one is a bit of a slow burn. Foo Fighters – "My Hero" didn’t chart that well here in Australia, only reaching #74, but as the years and our love of Foo Fighters grew, I can’t imagine a time when this song wasn’t played and revered like it is today. Even though it was a sleeping giant here, it was quickly embraced in the States reaching #6 on the alternative chart, and used in movies, videos games and even without prior consent in presidential campaigns.
Another grower for me was "Given To Fly" by Pearl Jam (technically released in late Dec 1997 as a single, the album was in ’98) Being a hardcore TEN lover, by the time the Yield album rolled around, I was just searching for things that sounded like TEN. I remember reading an interview with Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McReady about the sound of the song in which he said “I just kind of imagined it as sort of a wave in an ocean: It starts out slow and then it gets a little larger and a little larger and then it breaks and then it comes down again. And that's metaphorically how I think of that song.” After reading that, I imagined the same thing, and also the closeness of it to "Going to California" by Led Zeppelin, style-wise, ingrained it in my mind from that point on.
1998 was also a great time for Aussie rockers The Superjesus fronted by Sarah McLeod. "Now And Then" off their Sumo record debuted in the ARIA Top 40 singles chart while the album peaked at #2. It was a strong debut full-length which scored the band numerous ARIA Award nominations and wins.
Upon reading this far, I hope it has whet your appetite to not only go back into your collection and rip through some absolute classics to appreciate them again, but to also throw your favourites at us from 1998 in the comments section.