1998 was a pretty darn good year for music. Punk rock was doing well, the nu metal scene was getting white hot and ska was still hitting the heights previous years had promised. Pop music on the other hand was atrocious as the boyband, girl group scene was taking over and leaving talented singer songwriters in the dust. So let’s see what made the list!.
35.Ten Foot Pole-Insider
Can’t say I’m a fan of the cover art but hey ho it’s what’s inside that counts. What’s inside is rapid skate punk with killer choruses and impressive drumming. If you’ve been following these lists you’ll probably see a trend here….90s punk is kinda my thing.
Highlights-“The Getaway” “I Won’t Complain Today”
34.Idlewild-Hope Is Important
The debut album from intelligent, Scottish indie band Idlewild is full of interesting folk tinged rock songs. Fuzzy guitars and heart felt lyrics delivered in a way that topped most of the brit pop bands they were unfairly lumped in with at the time. Sadly after this they became so try-hard with incredibly pretentious lyrics and disappeared up their own arse for a little bit. Nonetheless they are a good band representing Scotland and this was them at a young age, discovering their sound. The singer’s uncle was my English teacher and gave me an A for me report on Mick Foley’s autobiography……..these are the facts you come for at Kinker Korner.
Highlights-“When I Argue I See Shapes” “I’m A Message”
33.The Planet Smashers-Attack Of The Planet Smashers
Upbeat Canadian ska band The Planet Smasher have been kicking around the scene for the longest time and although they never got the big break that lesser 3rd wave bands got in the late 90s they are still highly regarded in the scene. Very nice guys too, they played here in Scotland and I can’t actually remember if my band played with them or I was just along watching them…..it was over 10 years ago give me a break. Either way we hung out a bit after and they are just great guys. I wish them nothing but the best.
Highlights-“The 80 Bus” “Repo Man”
Jeeeez back when the internet was such a novelty that a band thought they’d have to promote their site by naming their damn album after it! One of industrial metal’s pioneers had their biggest success with this, their first major label release. The use of drum and bass style breakbeats is inspired and helps differentiate others in the genre which can sound a little samey. J.S Clayden’s snot nosed midlands accented vocals are obnoxiously brilliant as always.
Highlights-“What’s In It For Me” “Genius”
31.Dropkick Murphys-Do Or Die
The debut of the Boston punk band who infused traditional Celtic music with OI style punk. Proper pub music for the punks and part of that weird thing where Americans can never just say they’re American….they’re always from wherever their great grandparents immigrated from. Anyway it’s none of my business I just find it odd. Paying tribute to ancestors is a great thing, just settle doon on the plastic paddy stuff. They’re a good band…..that’s the main message here.
Highlights-“Far Away Coast” “Get Up”
30.The Scholars-The Last Great Record Of The 20th Century
Credit to this guy’s fingers and apologies for not giving credit but it’s the only decent sized picture of the album!. Thank you fellow ska fan’s fingers. This super low budget album from members of Reel Big Fish before they had released any material. This is a collection of all their random demos and recordings from 1995 and it’s a delectable bunch of cheap as chips ska tunes from a bunch of kids.
Highlights-“I’m In A Band” “Superdollar”
29 (Tied). Cappadonna-The Pillage
If ever you thought being an “affiliate” of the Wu Tang Clan meant you couldn’t cut it like them then give this album a listen and it’ll smash those preconceptions. Cappadonna is a tremendously talented rapper with very tight flow and chose an excellent group of producers for his debut album. Heavy beats and and great samples contribute to an excellent album.
Highlights-“Everything Is Everything” “Supa Ninjaz”
29 (Tied). He Got Game
I bought this album on the strength of the title track and although it never lives up to those heights it’s still a good album with some superb lyrics from Chuck D and a more melodic sound than some of their work. It’s the soundtrack to the Spike Lee film and I bought it the week of it’s release for going to a BB trip. I blasted it out of my ghetto blaster all the time and only me and my buddy Rick would rock out to it.
Highlights- “He Got Game” “House Of The Rising Sun”
28.Korn-Follow The Leader
Comic fans might recognise that art as Spawn creator and fan of pockets Todd Mcfarlane’s. The band’s most successful album by a long shot debuting at number one in America and having a couple of massive hit singles with even their music videos winning awards. Not as disturbing or as moving as their previous albums but with major labels pushing the hell out of metal at the time it became a monster hit. Cameos from the likes of Ice Cube and Fred Durst certainly didn’t hinder it’s progress.
Highlights-“Got The Life” “Dead Bodies Everywhere”
27.Catch 22-Keasbey Nights
A classic in the 3rd wave ska world and it still blows my mind that then band leader Tomas Kalnoky was 18 when he masterminded this album. There’s something so accomplished about the musicianship and compositions that helped set them apart from other ska bands. The addition of a flute was interesting and fun too. Interestingly (to me anyway) when Kalnoky left and formed Streetlight Manifesto he re-recorded the album after a dispute with his former record label when they planned to re-release it.
Highlights-“Supernothing” “Kristina She Don’t Know I Exist”
26.Marilyn Manson-Mechanical Animals
Manson, influenced by David Bowie, likes to transform himself and go through phases and as you can see from the cover this was his hyper androgynous period. This isn’t just cosmetic either as the music changed too, leaving behind the violent, thrashing guitars of Antichrist Superstar in favour of a more Depeche Mode techno mixed with glam rock style. It was a major shock to fans as the shift was so major that he lost followers but that’s exactly the kind of controversy he loves. Unfortunately it was this era that brought him the kind of controversy he wasn’t courting when the Columbine massacre was ridiculously blamed on acts like Manson and Insane Clown Posse. What a disgusting bunch the media can be.
Highlights-“The Dope Show” “Rock Is Dead”
25.Swingin’ Utters-Five Lessons Learned
The punk revival continues as Swingin’ Utters make another appearance on my lists. Blending skinhead OI punk with the skate punk sound that the 90s bands really perfected. The title track went on to be featured in the immensely successful Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 on the playstation so it’s their best known song by far.
Highlights-“As You Start Leaving” “A Promise To Distinction”
24.Lauryn Hill-The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
The debut album of one of my teenage crushes. After her relationship with Fugees sadly ended on a sour note she decided she was going solo. After falling in love and becoming pregnant with Rohan Marley’s (son of Bob) baby her songs had a lot of focus on her impending motherhood and relationships. There are also several passive aggressive digs at former group mate Wyclef Jean in what was described as a neo soul album. Mixing soul, gospel, funk and hip hop made for a hell of an album.
Highlights-“Doo Wop (That Thing)” “Every Ghetto, Every City”
After Max Cavalera left Sepultura, the band he led for so long, he formed Soulfly and not long before recording their debut his stepson was murdered. What followed was an intense, heavy album filled with aggressive vocals, Brazillian and African percussion and downtuned nu metal groove guitar riffs. Similar to what he was doing with Sepultura’s previous album (see the 1996 list) with Cavalera embracing the burgeoning nu metal scene.
Highlights-“Tribe” “First Commandment”
22.MXPX-Let It Happen
MXPX released two albums in 98, one was a new studio album called Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo and the other was this collection of B sides and songs that appeared on compilations etc. Surprisingly this album was the better by quite a bit with plenty of their signature fast, poppy punk with a nice dollop of 50s nostalgia tunes.
Highlights-“GSF” “Oh Donna”
21.The Suicide Machines-Battle Hymns
Their second album and their second appearance here. They still embraced the ska sound of the time minus the horn section and started heading in a more aggressive hardcore direction. Still plenty of catchy and melodic tune though. They really nailed the balance.
Highlights-“Black And White World” “Give”
20.Chixdiggit-Born On The First Of July
Canadian punk Chixdiggit are up there with my biggest influences as a band. Simple, fun punk rock songs about relatable and often funny topics. Their second album is where they really started to click for me.
Highlights-“Sikome Beach” “Quit Your Job”
19.The Living End-The Living End
The debut album from Australian punkabilly band The Living End is a strong with with tight musicianship and heavy working class left wing lyrics supporting women’s rights and unions. There’s a song that hits close to home for us Scots as it’s dedicated to the victims of the Dunblane massacre.
Highlights-“Save The Day” “Second Solution”
It’s amazing that this monster hit of an album with massive singles like Pretty Fly For A White Guy on a major label still sold less than the independently released Smash…..incredible. Anyway, said single really brought the band to the attention of the mainstream as it’s humour and catchy hooks made it a crossover hit. The album still has all different kinds of punk as is their tradition but it’s very polished and not as raw as their earlier efforts. Whether or not that’s a good or bad thing is really just a case of what you prefer. It works for me most of the time but I still prefer Smash.
Highlights-“Staring At The Sun” “The Kids Aren’t Alright”
17.Gang Starr-Moment Of Truth
Gang Starr up in here yet again! They’re on an incredible run in these lists and this album is actually one of their strongest to date with cameos from the likes of M.O.P, Inspectah Deck and K-Ci and JoJo.
Highlights-“Above The Clouds” “B.I vs Friendship”
16.Rancid-Life Won’t Wait
Taking even more inspiration from The Clash than their previous albums,Rancid started to truly experiment with ska and two tone music. They collaborated with several Jamaican dancehall artists and setting themselves apart from other punk bands doing ska by going to the roots and avoiding the thirdwave movement. There s a huge around of variety in the album which as brave and didn’t always work for me but it’s great to see a band get to the origins of the style they are incorporating. To e they are always at their best as a street punk band and nothing exemplifies this more than the song 1998, detailing the of of a heroin addict.
15.Bad Religion-No Substance
The second album in a row not to feature guitarist Brett Gurewitz and it wandered into a slower paced rock territory that doesn’t always ht the mark but still has enough of the harmonies and sonic boom guitars to still sound like Bad Religion and that’s never a bad thing.
Highlights-“Victims Of The Revolution” “In So Many Way”
Heavy heavy heavy cyber metal from the genre’s forefront band. Story wise it’s a sequel to Demanufacture where the machines have one the war as mankind became too reliant on technology. Crunching downtuned guitars with synths and crushing beats is what they do well and it’s what they do here. Still their biggest seller thanks in part to the cover of Gary Numan’s Cars which featured Numan himself on vocals.
13.Strung Out-Twisted By Design
I’ve never been a fan of tech-punk (very technical musicianship and song structures)….like not at all. It’s safe to say that it’s the reason my first long term band broke up. You know, the old musical differences cliche so it’ll no doubt be weird for my friends to see Strung Out in here as they are one of the most popular in the genre but unlike a lot of tech punk this album has catchy hooks, melodic choruses and classic punk chord progressions. Most tech punk forgoes tune in lieu of fast, skilled playing with no heart or tune. Twisted By Design is a fantastic, rip roaring punk rock album.
Highlights-“The Exhumation Of Virginia Madison” “Too Close To See”
12.Beastie Boys-Hello Nasty
More similar to their earlier albums than the instrument heavy musicianship of the previous two, Hello Nasty spawned the massively successful single Intergalactic and was a huge hit both commercially and critically. The more classic hip hop sound was due to Mix Master Mike being added to the group as the dj so his skills are up front and centre.
Highlights-“Putting Shame In Your Game” “Three MC’s And One DJ”
11.Less Than Jake-Hello Rockview
The major label debut of the trumpunk legends was a strong one with several tracks that would go on to become fan favourites and live staples. I remember when this came out and it felt like these guys were the next massive thing and although they had plenty of success they didn’t quite hit the levels that many felt they would. Still going strong and still touring, I really should go see them next time they’re in Scotland. I saw them in 1999 and 2000 I believe were the years. Very fun live band.
Highlights-“Scott Farcas Takes It On The Chine” “History Of A Boring Town”
10.The Jesus And Mary Chain-Munki
Written at a time of huge infighting with the band, Munki remains an album that splits fans and didn’t do as well as their previous albums. That said it’s one of my favourites from the band with their signature noisy guitars, pretty melodies and swagger. Scotland’s finest alternative rock band. The tension was so rife that the band would split up until 2007 shortly after it’s release.
Highlights-“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” “Fizzy”
The college rock band’s biggest album by a distance as it produced One Week which was a worldwide hit and when I saw them live in support of this tour a guy in the crowd next to me had all the lyrics written on his t shirt. The same venue a few months later when I went to watch Blink 182 a guy had all the lyrics to The Party Song on his t shirt…..wonder if it was the same guy. Anyway Stunt is filled will jangly guitar pop and great harmonies. Often seen as a sellout album because of the success of One Week but for the love of Milo it’s Barenaked Ladies we’re talking about here, they hardly claim to be Black Flag or Minor Threat.
Highlights-“Kight Up My Room” “I’ll Be That Girl”
8.Goo Goo Dolls-Dizzy Up The Girl
Iris……you all know Iris don’t you? It’s that monster hit that was used in a million things like movies, adverts, tv and it’s easy to understand why as it’s a beautiful song. Yes it was overplayed as hell but what a great, dark love song it is. Now that Iris is out of the way we can talk about the rest of the album. It’s really good and in typical Goo Goo Dolls fashion it’s filled with nice guitar driven pop songs. Black Balloon is up there with Iris in terms of dark beauty so to have two songs that can move people as much as they do is a hell of an achievement.
Highlights-“Black Balloon” “All Eyes On Me”
7.The Vandals-Hitler Bad, Vandals Good
Although I really enjoyed all of their previous albums I feel this is where they truly found their sound. The balance of comedy, melodic punk and hardcore is just great and Dave Quakenbush’s whiny, snotty vocals fit it perfectly. Very lighthearted and fun but with tight musicianship makes for a hell of a feel good punk album.
Highlights-“Too Much Drama” “Money’s Not An Issue”
6.Screeching Weasel-Television City Dream
More fast, short blasts of upbeat, Ramones-esque punk rock that lands Screeching Weasel on the list once again. They’ve been an almost permanent fixture on these lists for good reason. Their simple brand of punk is right up my street and Television City Dream exemplifies what is great about them.
Highlights-“Dummy Up” “Dirty Needles”
5.System Of A Down-System Of A Down
What a breath of fresh air this band was when they came on the sign. Utterly unique and original with Daron Malakian’s bizarre and playful guitar riffs complimenting Serj Tankian’s folky, impressive vocal range. Other than metal they are difficult to categorize and that’s fine as the constant need for people to pin point bands into certain genres is annoying. Four Armenian Americans with a punk rock attitude singing aggressive, anti fascist songs and using communist propaganda on their cover. An exciting band for those of a strong left wing preposition.
4.Eels-Electro Shock Blues
A cripplingly bleak album written by a man who had recently lost his mother to lung cancer and his sister to suicide. Painfully personal lyrics and honest reflection make it an uncomfortable album to listen to despite the surprisingly happy sounding music at times. You are listening to and looking into a man’s soul as it’s being torn apart. A brutally beautiful work of art.
Highlights-“Last Stop:This Town” “My Descent Into Madness”
3.Jurassic 5-Jurassic 5
An incredible debut from a group of MCs that tries to bring hip hop back to what it was a few years earlier i.e all about vocal flow skills and clever rhymes. At this point the likes of Puff Daddy were swamping the airwaves with brags about bling and cars and all that nonsense so it was nice that a new group were flying the flag for rap skills.
Highlights-“Concrete Playground” “Improvise”
2.The Queers-Punk Rock Confidential
Another excellent blend of juvenile humour, punk rock and 50’s nostalgia from one of my favourite bands of all time. Simple 4 chord punk with good melodies and excellent harmonies make The Queers one of the best in the genre. Very much influenced by Ramones and evelving that sound as a tribute to their legacy.
Highlights-“The Sun Always Shines Around You” “Like A Parasite”
1.Reel Big Fish-Why Do They Rock So Hard?
Man, when this album came out I had it on repeat for months, it just blew me away. No it’s not some arty work of poetic genius that you expect to top a list but what it is is an immensely enjoyable, fun bunch of songs that I couldn’t get enough of. Singer/guitarist Aaron Barrett went for big stadium rock riffs in conjunction with the ska punk sound they usually have which is a fun combination and sets them apart from other ska punk bands. There are so many great songs here and everything from bassist Matt Wong to the excellent horn section are on perfect form. An album that made me so happy deserves to take first place…..so it does.
Highlights-“Somebody Hates Me” “The Set Up (You Need This)”
Well than that’s 1998 done. Let me know your thoughts and what you would have had on the list. Love hearing the feedback so let me have it folks. Until next time, keep tuned into Kinker Korner and check out the backlog of lists, there’s all kinds of stuff in there. If you want ot request a list then please do so. Byeeeee x