Why John Legend and Kelly Clarkson’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is the holiday song of the century

Hayley Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Christmas season has finally arrived and the world has been blessed with the ultimate holiday song: the “woke” version of Baby It’s Cold Outside by the one and only All of Me singer John Legend, featuring Since U Been Gone singer Kelly Clarkson. 

Asides from the beautiful jazz undertones that accompany the majestic vocals, the duo has changed the lyrics of this classic holiday anthem. Rather than it being a song about a man that desperately tries to get his date to stay—and goes as far as to potentially drugging her—the new holiday song is about a girl toying with the idea of staying or leaving, with her date being supportive either way. Fortunately, the new version does not involve any date-rape drugs. Although the notion of changing the lyrics to a Christmas song seems trivial, in the era of the #MeToo movement, such actions are necessary and perhaps a mere favor to women. 

As a Christmas song fanatic, the classic has always been a favorite of mine, despite its negative connotations. Frank Loesser—the original songwriter—had good intentions, and at the time in 1944, it was socially acceptable for flirting to be so seemingly forceful. There is even a good chance Loesser was not intentionally condoning date-rape drugs. But unfortunately, as the years have gone on, the many modern renditions seem to no longer sound as “flirtatious” as the original did in 1944. Those who have been affected by sexual violence could agree that the song may have a more menacing tone than any other holiday song. As more and more #MeToo stories are told, it seems gross to hear “What’s in this drink?” and the words “No, no, no” being denied on the radio. As a kid, I was unaware of these potential implications. While hearing this song does not strike liberal rage in my heart, it does make me a little uncomfortable, as it should. But instead of banning this song from existence, Clarkson and Legend have altered the lyrics so that it is just a holiday song about a couple and not a holiday song about a girl being sexually pressured into staying the night. Instead of responding with “But baby it’s cold outside” when she says “The answer is no,” Legend replies with “I guess that’s respectable” and “Text me when you get home.” The song still possesses its flirtatious charm without being forceful and condescending.

While many are outraged by this new rendition of the song, it is a simple, light-hearted change in tone. If people want to just enjoy the song and not be so sensitive to the implications, then Clarkson and Legend’s version is perfect because it is still the same song, only some lines have been changed to avoid gross ignorance to current events. Besides, “It’s your body and your choice” is more positive than “Oh baby don’t hold out.” Overall, it would be better time spent enjoying the new Baby It’s Cold Outside rather than being an angry Scrooge about it. Afterall, it is the season of joy and forgiveness.