If 1997 was the year that everything changed in '90s music -- with the grunge and G-funk of the decade's first half giving way to boy bands and Bad Boy -- then '98 was the year that the brave new pop world was fully realized. 

Those groups of singing, dancing heartthrobs went supernova, as the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC led the way to Diamond sales and total cultural omnipresence. Nu-metal became the rock mode of the moment, with bands like KoRn and Limp Bizkit spiking an alternative genre that had become increasingly watered-down over the course of the decade. The ascendance of Puff Daddy and the late Notorious B.I.G. to blockbuster status the year before cleared the way for a full-scale revitalization of New York hip-hop, as JAY-Z, DMX, and Big Punisher all catapulted to stardom. And the emergence of MTV's Total Request Live as appointment viewing for young pop fans created an ecosystem for them all to co-exist, while pushing each other to ever-greater commercial heights. 

But even in a year where these pop planets finally seemed to find themselves in perfect alignment, it was the other hits orbiting and shooting off around them that gave 1998 its real character. A quarter century into their career, Aerosmith had their first Hot 100 No. 1. All three members of the perma-hiatused Fugees had major solo hits. Some of the biggest songs of the year came from movies as random as Rush HourCity of Angels and Dr. Dolittle. Brandy & Monica happened, and so did Whitney & Mariah. "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" happened. "Du Hast" happened. The swing revivalhappened. It was the roaring '90s on the Billboard charts, a pre-millennial boom where no one involved could've guessed that a couple teenage 'Net entrepreneurs were just a year away from turning the entire industry on its head. 

At Billboard, we're celebrating everything 1998 with a week's worth of content themed around this incredible year, remembering all the unforgettable (and some of the unfortunately forgotten) songs, artists, and moments it had to offer. To start, we compiled a list of our 98 favorite songs of '98 -- the classics that best define our memories of the year that was, and the ones that have stuck with us in the decades since. Songs were counted as eligible if they were released as singles in '98, or if they debuted on the Billboard charts in '98 -- but if they didn't hit the Hot 100 until the next year (like "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" or "Ex Factor"), or if they debuted in '98 but didn't hit No. 1 until the next year (like "Baby One More Time" or "Believe"), we're counting 'em for '99. 

See our list below -- with a Spotify playlist of all the songs at the bottom -- and have fun reliving the days of Monica Lewinsky, Jesse Camp and Mark McGwire all week on Billboard.com. 

98. Donny Osmond & Chorus, "I'll Make a Man Out of You" (Did not chart)