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Iconic Soundtracks: Clueless

“I can’t find my Cranberries CD. I have to go to the quad before somebody snags it,” is a phrase that literally no one in the world has uttered in the past decade, if not longer. However, for Elton, the careless, rich son of a record exec in the 1995 film classic, Clueless, this is a big issue. Actually misplacing a CD and being worried that it might be stolen? A real 90’s problem.

Clueless stars a gorgeous Alicia Silverstone as the wealthy and popular Cher Horowitz. We watch her figure out everything from love to fashion to driving exams. The movie is funny, relatable, and true to the time period. Looking back on Clueless now, it’s tough to imagine people walking around wearing the clothes they did, but it happened and Clueless called us on it.

Even more so than the way we all dressed, the most iconic part of the film is the soundtrack. Each song captures the spirit of what it was like to be a kid growing up in the nineties. The film even features a performance by Ska legends, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, who at the time were ruling the charts with multiple hits on the radio.

The soundtrack isn’t just filled with popular 90’s tunes; it’s filled with important artists from an era where everyone was just kind of going with the flow. This album goes about its tracking the same way. One song bleeds into the next and while it is quite the nostalgia trip, the mixing really should be applauded for its never-dull moments.

Coolio once ruled the hip-hop world and here he is featured on the same album as The Muffs and Cracker. I still get flashbacks of the film whenever I hear some of the songs. If someone around me gets knocked on the head I’ll ask them, “Can you do this?” and mimic the late Brittany Murphy in the “Rollin’ With My Homies” scene (after she was clocked in the head by an errant shoe).

Whether it’s moments of fun like the friends’ photo shoot backtracked by Supergrass’ “Alright” or the tender “The Ghost in You” by Counting Crows, the soundtrack to Clueless makes the movie. Sure there are beautiful people, catchy one-liners, and big stars, but the movie is set in the generation it was made in, not filmed decades later looking back at an era. Clueless is a film made in the moment and they nailed it.

Many of Clueless’ stars have gone on to become superstars, likewise, so did some of the bands on the soundtrack. Radiohead is still one of the biggest bands on the planet. Counting Crows are a household name and The Beastie Boys need no introduction. The song at the end credits “Need You Around” by Smoking Popes is a personal favorite. Many of pop-punk’s biggest names would never have even picked up instruments if it weren’t for Smoking Popes.

The film and its soundtrack mean different things to different people. Even Iggy Azalea’s music video for “Fancy” is based off of it. We talked the talk and we walked the walk of Clueless. For many of us from that generation, we still do.

 

About Kevin Barber

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