A coming-of-age movie loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma sounded a good idea in principle, but in reality, it was even better. Released in 1995, Clueless became essential viewing for anyone growing up in the ’90s, providing endless opportunities for quotes, directing fashion choices, and making stars of its cast of Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, Stacey Dash, and Paul Rudd. But good though the movie is, it wouldn’t have become quite such a cult favorite without its stellar soundtrack. Featuring a mash-up of hip hop, alt-rock, hip hop, and even a dash of ska, it’s a must-listen. Here’s how we rank all the songs from the Clueless soundtrack in order of greatness.
14. Shake Some Action – Cracker
Originally recorded as the title track for the Flamin’ Groovies 1976 album, Shake Some Action was later covered by US rock band Cracker and included as the 2nd track on the Clueless soundtrack.
13. My Forgotten Favorite – Velocity Girl
Velocity Girl’s My Forgotten Favorite first appeared on a collection of singles released on an EP in April 1993. It was too good a song to be forgotten, though, and eventually worked its way onto the soundtracks for both Clueless and the 2000 indie film, Calling Bobcat.
12. Here (Squirmel Mix) – Luscious Jackson
If you like your rock served with a funky groove and a sunshine vibe, this little gem from 90’s alt rocker’s Luscious Jackson should float your boat. Find it on the band’s debut album, which hit number 2 on the Heatseekers Albums chart in fall 1994.
11. Supermodel – Jill Sobule
Listeners first got to hear Supermodel on Jill Sobule’s self-titled second album from 1995. The album managed to shift over 100,000 copies, making it Sobule’s biggest commercial hit – something no doubt helped by the extra exposure of featuring in Clueless.
10. Kids in America – The Muffs
The irony of a British star singing about kids in America didn’t stop this classic ’80s pop confection from becoming a major hit for Kim Wilde. Released as her debut single in January 1981, it reached number 2 on the UK charts and broke into the top ten across multiple charts in Europe. Good though her version is, it was punk rockers The Muffs who made it onto the Clueless soundtrack with their cover.
9. All the Young Dudes – World Party
When Mott the Hopple were in danger of losing their record contract in the early 1970s, David Bowie came to the rescue by offering to write them a song. They didn’t think much of his first effort (Suffragette City – there’s no accounting for taste) but they did like his second offering. Released in 1972, All the Young Dudes became their first major success, quickly establishing itself as one of the greatest anthems of the glam rock era. The version heard on the Clueless soundtrack comes from the British group, World Party.
8. Where’d You Go? – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones became one of the first bands to bring ska to the mainstream in the 1990s. In 1991, they released the EP Where’d You Go?, the title track of which made it to the Clueless soundtrack four years later.
7. Change – Lightning Seeds
Described by All Music as Lightening Seeds’ “strongest batch of songs yet,” Jollification, the band’s third album, was a commercial and critical success, taking them to number 12 on the UK Albums Chart and earning platinum certification within less than a year of its release. One of its highlights is this little gem from the Clueless soundtrack.
6. The Ghost in You – Counting Crowes
The Ghost in You was written by Richard Butler and Tim Butler and first recorded by their band, the Psychedelic Furs, for the album Mirror Moves. Released as a single in March 1984, it proved a moderate success for the band, taking them to number 58 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 68 on the UK Singles Chart. Apparently, it didn’t quite meet the standards of the Clueless producers, though, who chose Counting Crowes’ cover for the soundtrack instead.
5. Rollin’ with My Homies – Coolio
Coolio might be best remembered by most people for Gangsta’s Paradise, but for Clueless fanatics, it’s this underappreciated little gem from the Clueless soundtrack that ranks as the Compton rapper’s best work.
4. Need You Around – Smoking Popes
Chicago pop-punk outfit Smoking Popes came the closest they ever came to a hit with this track from their 1994 album Born to Quit. Released as the album’s second single in 1995, Need You Around became the band’s only song to ever reach the charts, peaking at number 35 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks. It’s a great song, but there’s no doubt the exposure it got from Clueless didn’t exactly hurt its success.
3. Mullet Head – The Beastie Boys
As nypost.com says, not many fans remember that the Beastie Boys used to be a hardcore punk group… although this raucous number from their 1994 album Ill Communication might serve as a very welcome reminder.
2. Alright – Supergrass
This ode to the joys of being young and free in the Britpop era gave Supergrass the biggest hit of their career in 1995, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart and breaking into the top 20 across various other countries.
1. Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
According to faroutmagazine.co.uk, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has claimed that Fake Plastic Trees was “the product of a joke that wasn’t really a joke, a very lonely, drunken evening and, well, a breakdown of sorts.” Whatever personal demons inspired it, it’s a sensational song – as evidenced by its inclusion on Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.