‘Baby, it’s Cold Outside’ gets a #MeToo makeover

John Legend and Kelly Clarkson hug after performing on 'The Voice.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

John Legend and Kelly Clarkson hug after performing on 'The Voice." The pair are both judges on the singing competition show.

Taylor Ann Hartley, Online-Editor-in-Chief

In the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up, many things that most perceive as fine are being put under a microscope. Last year, this movement set its sights on the classic Christmas song “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Listeners turned their attention towards lyrics such as,“What’s in this drink,” that some percieve as a song about date rape.

The song’s call and answer format is unique in the holiday music genre. The lyrics place the listener in a conversation between a man and a woman on a date. During the 2018 holiday season, the song was seen in a new light causing national and local radio stations alike to stop playing the song.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the song’s release. The lyrics have remained the same since Frank Loesser wrote it, until now. The meaning of the lyrics have not changed, but the way our society perceives it has.

To combat this issue, stars of ‘The Voice,’ John Legend and Kelly Clarkson gave the song a 2019 makeover, which many call the ‘woke’ version of the song. The song was released on October 28, 2019.

Rather than, “I simply must go (But baby it’s cold outside). The answer is no (But baby it’s cold outside). Legend and Clarkson’s version altered it to; “What will my friends think? (Well, I think they should rejoice) If I have one more drink? (It’s your body and your choice)

The strangest of these new additions is the when Legend, instead of encouraging his date to stay, orders a ride sharing service. The driver’s name, we are told, is Murry. This is just a strange and unnecessary detail which makes it seem that the writing duo were struggling to rhyme their new lyrics.

The new update of the song has met a large amount of both criticism and praise. Many celebrities took to Twitter and other media platforms to express their opinion on the song.

“[The original song], to me, like a master painting. It’s a piece of art,” host of “The Talk” Sharon Osborne said. “What would John Legend do, if in 40 years, if somebody wanted to … re-record one of his songs, and there was some group that found it offensive, and somebody just went, ‘Oh, I can change the lyrics on that.’”

The original singer of the famed song, Dean Martin, is well-known for this holiday classic. Martin and Loesser never intended the song to be offensive in any way. Loesser composed the song to entertain his celebrity. He wrote the song to sing with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their housewarming party in New York City at the Navarro Hotel. Martin’s daughter, Deana Martin spoke out on her late father’s behalf to Good Morning Britain.

“It is absolutely absurd,” said Deana Martin. “I think what he’s done is, he’s stealing the thunder from Frank Loesser’s song and from my dad. He should write his own songs if he doesn’t like this one. But don’t change the lyrics. It’s a classic, perfect song.”

There is also more to be criticized than the lyrics themselves. Some say Clarkson and Legends voices do not complement each other well in the duet.

“[Legend] is really quiet and [Clarkson] is really loud,” said senior Aidan Baker. “It is hard to tell what he is saying sometimes.”

The criticisms are fairly widespread. Many appreciate the efforts to revamp a classic but the editing may be too extreme.

“I think the message in the new song is great, but I still think the original should remain the same,” said freshman Brice Bostian. “I don’t think the original meaning was supposed to be interpreted this way.”

All criticism aside, the song has a good message that is important in today’s political climate, even if the lyrics take political correctness to the extreme. There might even be a correlation between Legend’s new song and his recent title of People’s Sexiest Man Alive.

The Rooster Staff reached out to Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, and Kelly Clarkson. They could not be reached for comment.