It’s the first full week of November — Halloween is over, and though Thanksgiving has yet to arrive, you’re going to start hearing Christmas songs all the time, everywhere you go, soon enough. You know all of those songs; you know “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” a song penned by Frank Loesser in 1944. In recent years, especially in the wake of #MeToo, popular perception of that composition has begun to shift — with people criticizing it as skewing towards sexual harassment or date rape. And this season, maybe you’ll hear a new version by John Legend and Kelly Clarkson, with updated lyrics attempting to make the song feel a bit less creepy.
The very prospect of this is aggravating to some people, including Deana Martin — the daughter of Dean Martin, one of the singers who popularized the song last century. On a segment on Good Morning Britain this morning, Martin called in to discuss her feelings on the remake. Leading with obligatory acknowledgments that she loves Legend as an artist, and then plagued by connection issues, Martin later reappears to weigh in, saying:
You do not change the lyrics to the song. He’s made it more sexual with those words that he has just said. It’s absolutely absurd. 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 song if he doesn’t like this one, but don’t change the lyrics. It’s a classic, perfect song.
In case you are unaware, Good Morning Britain is co-hosted by Piers Morgan. This was his return after fears he was soon to be fired for saying the kind of inane, backwards things Piers Morgan says. So, most of this is a maddening rant from him, as he keeps belaboring the idea that Legend should change rap lyrics instead of touching a classic song, if he’s so concerned about political correctness. (It is, frankly, excruciating to hear people like Morgan still try and say things like this in 2019.) In the end, he asks Martin what her father would’ve thought, and of course she says he’d also find it “absurd,” before concluding, “I think John should’ve just left it alone.”
Legend’s update on the track is a co-write with Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell, featuring new lyrics like, “What will my friends think (I think they should rejoice)/ If I have one more drink? (It’s your body, and your choice)” and “I really can’t stay (Baby it’s cold outside)/ I’ve gotta go away (I can call you a ride.)” It’s part of the deluxe reissue of Legend’s Christmas album from last year, A Legendary Christmas, that’s part of this season’s new onslaught of holiday music.
If you want a preview of arguing with your uncle or whomever over Christmas this year, you can watch the Good Morning Britain segment below and hear Morgan and Martin’s takes yourself.