'Tis the season for chestnuts roasting on an open fire and the 1944 holiday jingle "Baby, It's Cold Outside" getting roasted for its heavily disputed lyrics. But it's 2019, and John Legend and Kelly Clarkson released a new woke version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" on Friday (Nov. 8). Here's how it's different.
First, Frank Loesser's original composition has been reworked many times before Legend and Clarkson took a (nut)crack at it. Billboard listed some feminist-branded remixes of the track last year, when Dean Martin's 1959 version had a merry time in the top 10 of the Billboard Digital Songs Sales chart and top 20 of the Holiday 100 (the latter of which was accompanied by Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé's 2014 version at No. 72 and Brett Eldredge and Meghan Trainor's 2016 take at No. 84).
But as people are gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year, the updated version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is fully prepared for a more consensual time — partly thanks to Natasha Rothwell from HBO's Insecure, who helped write the revamped version with Legend.
Original: "I really can't stay (But baby it's cold outside)/ I've got to away (But baby it's cold outside)/ This evening has been (Been hoping that you'd drop in)/ So very nice (I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice)
New: “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 that you dropped in)/ So very nice (Time spent with you is paradise)
The EGOT winner flips the initial script of the man dissuading the woman from leaving him because it's too cold for her homebound trip. Legend is actually the date who lets the woman leave when she says she wants to and will even grab her ride.
Original: My mother will start worry (Beautiful what's your hurry)/ My father will be pacing the floor (Listen to the fireplace roar)/ So really I'd better scurry (Beautiful please don't hurry)/ But maybe just a half a drink more (Put some records on while I pour)
New: My mother will start to worry (I’ll call a car and tell ‘em 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)
Murray the driver plays an integral part of her getaway, something she wasn't afforded with the song's first go-around. Legend also adds a bit of playfulness to the tune by teasing Clarkson for still living with her parents.
Original: The neighbors might think (Baby it's bad out there)/ Say what's in this drink (No cabs to be had out there)/ I wish I knew how (Your eyes are like starlight now)/ To break this spell (I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell)/ I ought to say "No, no, no sir" (Mind if I move in closer?)/ At least I'm gonna say that I tried (What's the sense in hurtin' my pride?)"
New: What will my friends think? (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)."
He echoes, "It's your body and your choice" after Clarkson chimes, "If I have one more drink?" to further emphasize its sensitivity to the #MeToo movement, which sparked a Cleveland, Ohio radio station ban of the original "Baby, It's Cold Outside."
Original: I simply must go (But baby, it's cold outside)/ The answer is no (But baby, it's cold outside)/ Your welcome has been (How lucky that you dropped in)/ So nice and warm (Look out the window at that storm)
New: I simply should go (Text me when you get home)/ Oh, I’m supposed to say no (Mm, I guess that’s respectable)/ This welcome has been (I’ve been lucky that you dropped in)/ So nice and warm (But you better go before it storms)
The original second chorus opens with the same excuse of the man repeating the titular line and other weather-related excuses for the woman to stay, while Legend's later half of the song delves into his respectable gestures. He chants, "Text me when you get home" and urges her to go before the blizzard gets dangerous.
Original: My sister will be suspicious (Gosh your lips look delicious)/ My brother will be there at the door (Waves upon the tropical shore)/ My maiden aunt's mind is vicious (Gosh your lips are delicious)/ But maybe just a cigarette more (Never such a blizzard before)
New: My sister will be suspicious (Well, gosh your lips look delicious) / My brother will be there at the door (Oh, he loves my music, baby, I’m sure) / My gossipy neighbors for sure (I’m a genie, tell me what your wish is) / But maybe just a cigarette more (Oh, that’s somethin’ we should probably explore)
Legend gets cheeky again in this section of the second verse. While the original tries to distract the woman from going home by musing over her lips, the "All Of Me" crooner uses the same compliment, but ultimately leaves the choice of leaving, and even having another cigarette, up to her. He adds a little boast of his own musical talent, assuring Clarkson that her worried brother is probably a fan.
Original: I’ve gotta get home (But baby, you'd freeze out there)/ Say lend me a coat (It's up to your knees out there)/ You've really been grand (I thrill when you touch my hand)/ But don't you see? (How can you do this thing to me?)/ There's bound to be talk tomorrow (Think of my lifelong sorrow)/ At least there will be plenty implied (If you got pnuemonia and died)
New: I’ve got to get home (Oh, baby, I’m well aware) / Say, lend me a coat (Oh, keep it girl, I don’t care) / You’ve really been grand (I feel it when you touch my hand) / But don’t you see? (I want you to stay, it’s not up to me) / There’s bound to be talk tomorrow (Well, they can talk, but what do they know?) / At least there will be plenty implied (Oh, let them mind their business, and go)
Legend transforms the original drama of the man thinking of his "lifelong sorrow if you got pneumonia and died" into a stress-free environment, offering for Clarkson to keep his coat after she borrows it for her chilly ride home, and assuring her to not listen to any rising gossip.