For the past couple of weeks, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson have been making headlines because they recorded the duet Baby, It’s Cold Outside for his new album A Legendary Christmas, but completely changed the lyrics in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Now, the song has officially been released, and after getting the chance to hear the song and all of the lyric changes, no one is impressed.
Since the rise of social media, it seems like every Christmas there is some kind of complaint from somewhere about Baby, It’s Cold Outside being a song that promotes rape culture. The song – which was written in 1944 by famed songwriter Frank Loesser as a playful duet for him and his wife to sing at parties – features lyrics like “Say, what’s in this drink?” and “Gosh, your lips look delicious.”
In the wake of #MeToo, Legend decided to change the song with new “consent-friendly” lyrics, but the idea was not well received. And now that the lyrics have been made known, the reviews are overwhelmingly negative.
Here is a sample of Legend’s new lyrics:
I really can’t stay (Baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go away (But, I can call you a ride)
This evening has been (I’m so glad you that you dropped in)
So very nice (Time spent with you is paradise)
My mom will start to worry (I’ll call the car and tell him to hurry)
My daddy will be pacing the floor (Wait, what are you still livin’ home for?)
So, really, I’d better scurry (Your driver, his name is Murray)
But maybe just a half a drink more (Oh, we’re both adults, so who’s keepin’ score?)
What will my friends think? (Well I think they should rejoice)
If I have one more drink? (It’s your body and your choice)
Ooh you really know how (Your eyes are like starlight now)
To cast a spell (One look at you and then I fell)
I ought to say, “No, no, no, sir” (Then you really ought to go, go, go)
At least I’m gonna say that I tried (Well, Murray, he just pulled up outside)
According to critics and the Twitterverse, there are a lot of eye-rolling moments in the song. And, the news of the change has not gone over well with everyone from Dean Martin’s daughter Deana (Dean Martin recorded one of the most popular covers of the classic song) to Sharon Osbourne.
Deana Martin called the lyric change “absurd,” and said that Legend should write his own holiday song if he didn’t like this one. And, Osbourne asked how Legend would react if someone in the future wanted to change his lyrics.
NEW VERSION of #BabyItsColdOutside! A welcome update or "PC Culture run amok & destroying everything great in the history of music?" (🙄). You decide. Check out my new track w/ @kellyclarkson! Updated lyrics co-written w/ @natasharothwell. Listen here: https://t.co/XZWqbFlZYP pic.twitter.com/FJZKYpJAHH
— John Legend (@johnlegend) November 8, 2019
“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,’” said Osbourne. “It’s, to me, like a master painting. It’s a piece of art.”
John Legend is aware of the controversy surrounding his updated version, and he asked his Twitter followers on Friday after the song was released if it was “A welcome update or PC Culture run amok & destroying everything great in the history of music.”
In one of the many responses to Legend’s tweet, one fan wrote: “It’s a shame that people decided an innocent classic Christmas song was somehow promoting date rape. I for one will NOT be listening to this new version. People need to stop looking for trouble in everything.”