John Legend and comedian Natasha Rothwell of the hit HBO series Insecure, have penned an updated version of Frank Loesser’s 1944 holiday classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” with new lyrics. These lyrics, according to Pitchfork, rewrite the original’s themes of perceived sexual coercion, which includes a controversial line that some have felt implies that the male suitor spiked his date’s drink, although other’s believe that it is a joke from the late 1930s.
This new track is set to appear on Legend’s forthcoming holiday album A Legendary Christmas: The Deluxe Edition, which will be released on November 8 via Columbia Records. The track will be performed as a duet with pop performer Kelly Clarkson, and will be one of the four holiday covers featured on the new album, which will feature 18-tracks in total. This project also hosts Raphael Saadiq as its executive producer, and also features Esperanza Spalding and Stevie Wonder on the harmonica.
The official opening lyrics for this cover have been released, showing an immediate change in context for the song. Loesser’s original, which is sung as a duet states: “I really can’t stay (but baby, it’s cold outside)/I’ve got to go 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)/My mother will start to worry (beautiful what’s your hurry?)” which some believe imply that the suitor is pressuring his date to stay.
This new version changes the lyrics to: “I really can’t stay (Baby, it’s cold outside)/I’ve gotta go away (I can call you a ride)/This evening has been (So glad that you dropped in)/So very nice (Time spent with you is paradise)/My mother will start to worry (I’ll call a car and tell ’em to hurry),” which show the suitor acting in a more conscious manner, implying that the date is encouraged to leave on her own volition.
While the track’s other lyrics have not been shown, Karen Valby of Vanity Fair has stated, that the song’s most controversial lines will host this exchange: “What will my friends think…(Clarkson)/I think they should rejoice(Legend)/ … if I have one more drink?(Clarkson) It’s your body, and your choice.(Legend)”
The source of most controversies regarding the song were the following lines: “The neighbors might think (baby, it’s bad out there)/Say what’s in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there).
A Legendary Christmas: The Deluxe Edition
1. What Christmas Means to Me (feat. Stevie Wonder on harmonica)
2. Bring Me Love
3. This Christmas
4. My Favorite Things
5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside (feat. Kelly Clarkson)
6. Christmas in New Orleans
7. Silver Bells
8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (feat. Esperanza Spalding)
9. No Place Like Home
10. Merry Christmas Baby / Give Love on Christmas Day
11. Christmas Time Is Here
12. By Christmas Eve
13. Purple Snowflakes
14. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
15. Please Come Home for Christmas
16. Wrap Me Up in Your Love
17. Waiting for Christmas
18. Merry Merry Christmas