A soundtrack is an integral part of any movie. The director can use music in many ways to express emotion, introduce relationships, or make reference to the time period. The music in Clueless is used mainly to highlight major themes and reflect teenage attitudes.
The movie opens with Cher and her friends partying and shopping in the song “Kids in America.” This immediately highlights the main theme of the film, upper-class teenage lives. This song is important because it highlights the essence of the characters – kids living in Beverly Hills, America. “Kind hearts won’t make a story. The movie is based on the lyrics of this song. It’s important because most of the characters in the film are not shown to be kind. This song is important because of its portrayal of the characters’ attitudes. It depicts them as selfish and unhappy people who won’t do anything for their own gain. Cher asks Dionne and she responds selfishly, “wouldn’t that be a great cause?” Then the music changes. Cher can now see her bedroom. David Bowie’s “Fashion”, which is being played in the background. This shows another aspect of this movie – shopping, fashion. This is important because Cher is able to see the importance of fashion and shopping. Cher is looking for a school outfit as the song plays. Bowie was well-known for his extravagant outfits, which were often outrageous. Cher is on her computer looking for an outfit to wear to school. Dionne responds that she wouldn’t mind a collie making her backpack.
Jill Sobule’s “Supermodel” song is another important song. The lyrics are a summary of everything the girls do and want throughout the movie. While it is used in the scene where Cher and Dionne give Tai makeovers, the lyrics can be found throughout. “I don’t matter what my teachers say, I’m going to be a supermodel…and everyone is gonna wanna like me.” The movie’s teenagers aren’t interested in their teachers’ opinions or teachings. Cher dreams of becoming “5ft 10 as Cindy Crawford” which is an indication that everyone in school admires Cher. Amber even copies Cher’s looks despite her protests. It is important because the song is played as Tai gets a makeover. They believe Tai’s clothes make her “clueless”, and they want to make her look like them. The movie then shows how prejudiced the characters are. Tai never saw Travis before her makeover. All of the boys wanted to talk to her after her transformation.
“Rollin with the homies” is a constant theme throughout the movie. The song’s first performance is at a party in a valley. Teenagers dance to it, as Cher, Dionne, Tai and Dionne go. Coolio, a 90’s pop artist, sings the song. It shows what teens listened to in that era. This song can be used for multiple purposes. Tai is in love with Elton. He gets her to sing “rollin’ with my homies” when she’s almost dead. This keeps her from forgetting about him. Tai is devastated when Elton tries it on with Cher. Next the song plays when Tai is upset that Elton tried it with Cher. Tai starts to make a scene about this song. The film’s dramatic portrayals of minor issues such their crushes liking someone else are a great example of how dramatic these characters can be. Tai brings a box of stuff with her to Cher’s to burn. The cassette “rollin” from the song “rollin” signifies that Tai is tired of Elton. She wants to get rid of the cassette.
The soundtrack plays an important role in Clueless. Songs that are relevant to the movie’s characters are carefully chosen. They highlight their strengths and provide a glimpse into the main themes. Clueless’s music is primarily used to show the audience the emotions of the teens. Background music can reveal character traits before the characters actually display them. Music is important for illustrating major themes such as fashion, perfectionistism and teenage life in the 90’s.