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Hear Our Rundown of the 98 Best Songs of 1998

“It felt too weird to be as huge as it was,” Rob Sheffield says of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta.” “It’s also had an astoundingly long afterlife.”

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Rob Sheffield recently stopped by our SiriusXM studio to break down his definitive list of the 98 best songs of 1998 on the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast. To check out the full episode, press play below or download and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.

Sheffield explained why he left off Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” (it had its biggest impact in 1999), how he skipped Fastball’s “The Way” (it almost made it) and described the thinking behind his selection of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” as number one: “It felt too weird to be as huge as it was,” says Sheffield. “It’s also had an astoundingly long afterlife.” The rest of the episode covers a lot of ground, from the greatness of the super-obscure band the Rondelles and the New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give” to the magic of deep cuts such as Elliott Smith’s “Bled White” and Lucinda Williams’ “Metal Firecracker” to why Robbie Williams sings “take it to the bridge” in the first verse of “Strong” (it’s simple: British songwriters call the pre-chorus “the bridge,” and use “middle eight” to describe what Americans refer to as a song’s bridge.)

Download and subscribe to Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on iTunes or Spotify, and check out two years worth of episodes, including interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Julian Casablancas, Fleetwood Mac, Donald Fagen, Ice Cube, Kelly Clarkson and many more. Tune in Fridays at 1 p.m. ET to hear the show broadcast live on Sirius XM’s Volume, channel 106.

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