The 98 Best Songs of 1998: Pop's Weirdest Year

In 1998, boundaries blew open and new genres were invented each week. We look back at the best, brightest and weirdest from a pivotal year in pop

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39. R.E.M., "At My Most Beautiful"

R.E.M. pay their respects to Brian Wilson in this Pet Sounds–style piano ballad, the most unironic, untortured, unashamed love song they'd ever done. Michael Stipe lingers awake at night to count his sleeping bedmate's eyelashes, reading bad poetry into his lover's answering machine (a very 1998 thing to do), while Mike Mills holds court at the piano. It was a highlight of Up, R.E.M.'s fifth straight masterwork of the Nineties – one of the greatest decades any band's ever had. (Their next one, 2001's Reveal, was on the same level.) "At My Most Beautiful" also sounded great on the soundtrack of the Drew Barrymore flick Never Been Kissed.

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