The debate over “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” heated up with the MeToo movement, but it’s still going strong more than year later.
After all the controversy over the 1944 song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” last holiday season, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson are aiming to give the song a 2019 update.
Legend shared a sneak peek at some new music coming soon with Vanity Fair in the outlet’s November cover story. He’s got an album slated for 2020, but this winter he’ll put out some holiday tunes in “A Legendary Christmas,” which includes a jazzy cover of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and Frank Loesser’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”
The latter has become an increasingly controversial song in the past few years. The debate took center stage last holiday season after a radio station in Cleveland announced it would no longer play the song and several other stations around the country followed suit.
Some argue the lyrics have not aged well in the aftermath of #MeToo, like the woman telling the man “no, no, no” and asking “what’s in this drink?”
Given the reasoning behind all the uproar, is that an odd choice for a man who’s been such a vocal denouncer of R. Kelly?
“Hold on, hold on,” Legend said, before explaining that he and Clarkson weren’t exactly singing the original words. “Insecure” writer and actress Natasha Rothwell helped him change out some of the more questionable lyrics.
One new verse goes as follows, according to Vanity Fair:
Clarkson: “What will my friends think…”
Legend: “I think they should rejoice”
Clarkson: “…if I have one more drink?”
Legend: “It’s your body, and your choice.”
Following some radio stations’ decisions to forego playing the song last year, the daughter of the song’s original composer spoke out against the critics, arguing that her father, Frank Loesser, had no ill intentions when writing it.
“Bill Cosby ruined it for everybody,” Susan Loesser, 74, told NBC News in Dec. 2018. “Way before #MeToo, I would hear from time to time people call it a date rape song. I would get annoyed because it’s a song my father wrote for him and my mother to sing at parties. But ever since Cosby was accused of drugging women, I hear the date rape thing all the time.”
Loesser said her father would have been “furious” at the radio stations’ decision.
“I think it would be good if people looked at the song in the context of the time,” she said. “People used to say ‘what’s in this drink’ as a joke. You know, ‘this drink is going straight to my head so what’s in this drink?’ Back then it didn’t mean you drugged me.”
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