10 reasons the Clueless soundtrack holds up

DON'T get us started on the movie.

April 30, 2013

Ah, Clueless. A soundtrack that inspired a thousand shopping trips, accidental freeway drives, and the want for Cher’s outfit-making computer program that still doesn’t really exist. Released in 1995, the soundtrack almost perfectly reflected the teen culture the movie revolved around, spanning everything from Josh’s college “crybaby music” (Radiohead) to the Valley party none of our own high school soirees would come close to (“Rollin’ With My Homies”) thanks to our lower-class upbringings.

But is that the only flaw we could find in it? Read and see.

1. Variety










Actually, If there’d been no Luscious Jackson, that would’ve been fine, too (though that could also have been a tragedy)there’s nothing worse than song that just doesn’t fit. Clueless was a movie about embracing oneself and respecting other people, and the soundtrack achieves the same: alongside Radiohead, you’ve got Coolio. Alongside Velocity Girl, you’ve got the Beastie Boys — and it WORKS. See? There is no one right kind of music to like. (Which is exactly why we’ve kept listening to the The Lightning Seeds.)

2. Nostalgia

Nothing. Not even the actual year, 1995, is as 1995 as the Clueless soundtrack. The only exception? Every outfit you see in the movie. So for a film that so perfectly embodies an era of time, it’s only fitting that it’s musical counterpart does the same. Here’s looking at you, Jill Sobule. Which leads us to…

3. Jill Sobule’s “Supermodel”

You’ll  be hard-pressed to find anyone immune to the charms of “Supermodel.” True, she cites Tori Spelling and details plans to stop eating (#yikes), but we’re going to go right ahead and chalk that up to old-fashioned Gen-X cynicism — especially since Clueless promoted the exact opposite of a “change yourself” mindset. (After all: Cher realizes she shouldn’t have tried to change Tai.)

4. Okay, fine: the Counting Crows we could do without

ALRIGHT, we admit it: theCluelesssoundtrack is human, just like the rest of us. And while we can get behind the majority of its 14 tracks, Counting Crows’ live (WHY) version of “The Ghost In You” is atotal Monetbig old skip. Not that we’re anti-Duritz, but Clueless is fun– a.k.a. the opposite of everything this song is. True, Radiohead is as much of a downer, but at least with “Fake Plastic Trees,” you can imagine college crybaby Josh up in his room, reading Nietzsche, and offering his opinion to Cher whenever she doesn’t ask for it.


Certain Clueless scenes have become ingrained in the very fibres of our pop culture landcape: the Tai/Elton dance, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones performance, and the opening credits set to The Muffs’ “Kids In America.” And that’s what a good soundtrack does: rescues dated music from the attics of our brains and reminds us not only why we liked the bands we once did, but why the movies we heard those bands in are important, too. So PLAY ON, World Party. (Though arguably, that song has been in far too many movie trailers since.)


Here’s a hot, super-cool industry tip: if you put a Beastie Boys song on your soundtrack, you’ll win accolades from anybody with ears. So congratulations, Clueless soundtrack, we can’t stop listening to “Mullet Head.”

7. Luscious Jackson

Actually, if there’d been no Luscious Jackson, that would’ve been fine, too (though that could also have been a tragedy) there’s nothing worse than song that just doesn’t fit.

8. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

We’ve got to face facts: ska does not age well. Believe it or not, there were downsides to 1995, and while the soundtrack succeeds at embodying the best parts of the era, it also reminds us of why we stopped writing with fluffy pens. On the flip side, you could say thatClueless offers a balanced perspective of the ’90s (ex. nothing’s perfect), but directly, we’ve got to wonder why they couldn’t have gotten any other band to perform. Any other band in the world.

9. The Smoking Popes

The ’90s are back! Did you know that, after reading every music blog in the world since 2011? Fortunately, Smoking Popes had a feeling we’d be gung-ho for nostalgia when they recorded “Need You Around,” the perfect pick-me-up for the soundtrack’s middle-ground. Need a song to set a productivity and/or success montage to? Behold. Just remember, if somebody asks you who you’re listening to, tell them it’s a 2013 buzz band and see where it goes.

10. The Transitions

Frankly, if you forget our nit-picking about Luscious Jackson and Counting Crows (oh, and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones), you have a literal perfect soundtrack. Magically, each song melds into each other with the grace of Cher Horowitz walking down her entryway staircase, and it takes listeners on the same adventure that viewers embark on when they head to Bronson Alcott High. Yes, it’s hard to recover from a Radiohead feelings-fest, but considering Clueless is about teenagers, it might as well reflect that.

 So, does it hold up?

Nostalgia, ’90s pop-rock, and “Rollin’ With the Homies”? Like the movie itself,Clueless‘ soundtrack is an un-toucheable treasure. To argue the opposite? AS IF.

Exclusive videos, interviews, contests & more.

sign up for the a.side newsletter

sign up