Christmas controversy came a little early this year.
John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and Natasha Rothwell have reignited the debate surrounding “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” after reworking the winter ditty with lyrics updated for the #MeToo Era, reports Vanity Fair. Legend retooled the lyrics with “Insecure” actress-comedian Rothwell and recorded the new track with Clarkson.
Legend plugged the new “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” collab on Twitter Monday, writing: “If you had a song with @kellyclarkson, you’d want to promote your Christmas album in October too!”
Originally penned by Frank Loesser in 1944, the yuletide duet is about a man trying to convince a reluctant woman to spend the night at his place on a frigid winter evening. Every time she comes up with an excuse to leave, he smoothly retorts, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” In recent decades, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has drawn flack for its alleged date-rape connotations.
Legend and Clarkson’s version swaps out the song’s “problematic” coercion with #MeToo-approved verses. Where the original song has the female crooning, “Say, what’s in this drink?,” “The answer is ‘no’ ” and “I’ve gotta get home,” Clarkson says, “What will my friends think?”
“I think they should rejoice,” responds Legend, to which Clarkson replies, “If I have one more drink?”
“Your body, your choice,” sings Legend.
Suffice it to say, the “woke” reimagining has elicited mixed responses online.
Vanity Fair, which first sampled the song, gushed that the new version is “every bit as fun and swinging as the original, and its newfound sensitivity feels genuine, not performative.”
Others were less enamored with the remix. “Thanks for destroying ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ just so you can cash-in on the snowflakes of the world,” scoffed one social-media Scrooge.
This isn’t the first time “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has been accused of being culturally tone-deaf. Last year, an Ohio radio station dropped the merry melody for having “no place” in today’s “extra sensitive” world. And in 2016, a Minneapolis, Minn., couple released their own PC revamp, which garnered 350,000 plays on SoundCloud in one week.
Singer Melinda DeRocker even refused to record the song for last year’s holiday album, citing that the “words made her uncomfortable” because “they were too pushy.”
However, traditionalists like actor Dennis Quaid maintain that the ditty is “innocent.”
“It was written in the ’40s, and there’s nothing predatory about it,” Quaid told Fox News. “It’s sort of just the relationship between men and women, you know.”
Post columnist John Podhoretz dismissed the criticisms as merely another attempt by progressive scolds to destroy our holiday classics.
By Ben Cost