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Baby It’s Cold Outside (But I Fully Support Your Choice To Brave The Elements)

The Christmas classic gets a #MeToo makeover by John Legend and Kelly Clarkson

Cassie Steer | 31.10.2019

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Chestnuts are roasting on the open fire, the family are gathered in their Woolmark finest, your favourite Christmas ballad has been hit by controversy and the worrying conclusion is it might have date rape connotations.

Luckily John Legend has come to the rescue by rewriting a new version of the award-winning hit Baby It’s Cold Outside with Insecure star Natasha Rothwell to reinstate our sense of Yuletide harmony.

So what exactly was wrong with the original? First penned by Frank Loesser in 1944, it was performed by Loesser and his wife Lynn Garland as a closing act at New York society parties. And there it remained until MGM snapped it up in 1949 to be used in the film Neptune’s Daughter, where it went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1950. A conversation between a man trying to persuade a woman to stay over, it has been covered by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong to Tom Jones and Lady Gaga.

But that was all BM2 (before #MeToo) and in the wake of gender dynamics across the board coming under scrutiny, suddenly "What’s in this drink? (baby it’s cold outside)" didn’t feel quite…. right. Critics lambasted the lyrics for being "coersive" and a "date rape anthem" while questions were raised about consent prompting several radio stations to remove the song from their playlists last year. Admittedly the lyric to come most under fire does to the modern ear does sound a tad...rapey, but according to Susan Loesser, who has defended her father’s song, "People used to say ‘what’s in this drink’ as a joke. You know, 'this drink is going straight to me head so what’s in this drink? Back then it didn’t mean you drugged me."

So should the song be taken at face value as a portrait of it’s time or should we be re-writing other questionable lyrics? Could mistletoe be construed as a coercive device? We’re not sure, but we do know that we can’t wait to crank up John Legends new Christmas album, A Legendary Christmas - an update on his 2018 version - which is released on the 8th November. Here’s a sneak preview of the new consent-friendly lyrics to start putting to memory now

Clarkson:

“I really can’t stay”

Legend:

“Baby, it’s cold outside”

Clarkson:

“I gotta go away”

Legend:

“I can call you a ride”

Clarkson:

“This evening has been…”

Legend:

“So glad that you dropped in”

Clarkson:

“So very nice”

Legend:

“Time spent with you is paradise”

Clarkson:

“My mother will start to worry”

Legend:

“I’ll call a car and tell ‘em to hurry”

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”

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