1998: Neutral Milk Hotel, David Gray, Lauryn Hill

1998 boasts essential XPN albums, a hip hop classic and a cult favorite.

Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Under the Sea was the seemingly short-lived band’s original swan song, propelling it to cult status and influencing countless musicians in the years to come. The impact of this record, and its predecessor On Avery Island, became even more apparent during the band’s 2013 and 2014 reunion tours.

In 2008 XPN listeners named “Babylon” from David Gray’s White Ladder one of the most essential XPN songs, along with songs from Ani DiFranco’s Little Plastic Castles. Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is also a Triple A classic, winning the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album and becoming the country singer’s best-selling album.

But to most people, the 90s means alt-rock. Albums from Garbage, Elliott Smith, Beck, Hole, Fatboy Slim and Massive Attack topped best-of lists.

And New Jersey’s Lauryn Hill breaks-through with her monumental solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The album earned five Grammy Awards was selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry this year.

Was 1998 the Greatest Year in Music? Let us know what you think in the comments below and across social media with #XPNGreatestYear.


In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
White Ladder – David Gray
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road – Lucinda Williams
Slow Down – Keb’ Mo’
Skull Orchard – Jon Langford
The Boy with the Arab Strap – Belle & Sebastian
Little Plastic Castle – Ani DiFranco
Aquemini – OutKast
Train – Train
Music Has the Right to Children – Boards of Canada
Keasbey Nights – Catch 22
This is Hardcore – Pulp
When Forever Comes Crashing – Converge
Mermaid Avenue – Billy Bragg and Wilco
Before These Crowded Streets – Dave Matthews Band
End Hits – Fugazi
From the Choirgirl Hotel – Tori Amos
This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours – Manic Street Preachers
XO – Elliott Smith
A Series of Sneaks – Spoon
A Thousand Leaves – Sonic Youth
Dizzy Up the Girl – Goo Goo Dolls
Version 2.0 – Garbage
The Black Light – Calexico
Rufus Wainwright – Rufus Wainwright
How It Feels to Be Something On – Sunny Day Real Estate
Adore – Smashing Pumpkins
Moon Pix – Cat Power
Left of Cool – Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
Never Say Never – Brandy
Life Won’t Wait – Rancid
System of a Down – System of a Down
Hello Nasty – Beastie Boys
Good Morning Spider – Sparklehorse
You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby – Fatboy Slim
Scraps at Midnight – Mark Lanegan
The Shape of Punk to Come – Refused
The Key – Vince Gill
whitechocolatespaceegg – Liz Phair
Something About Airplanes – Death Cab for Cutie
The Last Dog and Pony Show – Bob Mould
Up – R.E.M.
1965 – The Afghan Whigs
The Story of the Ghost – Phish
It’s Hard to Find a Friend – Pedro the Lion
Mutations – Beck
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie – Alanis Morissette
Mezzanine – Massive Attack

Category: 90s


Article by: Julie Miller