Pop Goes 1998

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
1998 in Review

The Year in Music

by Melinda Newman
The Backstreet Boys

The Backstreet Boys show their solidarity at a press conference in Argentina.

Pop went the music world in 1998 as teens dominated the charts and little girls' hearts. It was also the year that the Titanic rose and Paul Simon's Broadway play Capeman sank faster than the legendary ship. The Spice Girls lost some of their snap as Ginger Spice left the quintet to take on the unlikely role of UN goodwill ambassador, and both Posh Spice and Scary Spice became pregnant. A number of girl groups, such as Cleopatra, All Saints, and Divine, stood waiting in the wings.

While ardor for Hanson cooled, despite the teen trio's efforts to keep excitement high with release of music from their early years (!) called Three Car Garage, and a live album, pre-pubescent girls turned their sights and allowances to the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, 98 Degrees, and Next. While the groups often differed in their members' ethnic backgrounds, they all shared a similar harmony-filled singing style, pre-fab look, and nifty dance moves. Each act spent time near the top of the chart, especially Next, whose song "Too Close" spent five weeks on the top of Billboard's singles charts.

What their parents didn't know the little girls understood as they debated the cuteness factor of 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake versus the Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter. However, the Backstreet Boys were the clear winners when it came to sales. Their self-titled album sold more than eight million copies, tying it with Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love.

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