One of the most exciting parts of the holiday season is Christmas music. Whether a classic tune like Frank Sinatra’s “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” or a newer hit like Taylor Swift’s “Christmas Tree Farm” — I’ve always adored the happiness of a simple Christmas tune hummed on the radio can bring.
When thinking about classics, the usual songs come to mind. “Jingle Bell Rock,” “The Christmas Song,” “Sleigh Ride…” and, of course, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” From Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé, to the Glee Cast and She & Him it’s a song that’s been covered a thousand times over, and probably on more occasions than any other Christmas song.
Despite the song’s popularity, it’s been known to receive backlash for lyrics that suggest problematic themes. To poke fun at the annual debate of whether the song is appropriate, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson recently teamed up to create a modern twist on the classic.
Their version places a lot of emphasis on consensuality, to a point where people have joked that it almost seems like John Legend WANTS Kelly Clarkson to leave, and she just isn’t getting the hint. But it’s supposed to be comical, and the duo nailed that bit. With lyrics like “Your driver, his name is Murray,” and “I’ve got to get home (oh, baby, I’m well aware),” the song proved to be a light-hearted take on a song that’s been deemed a topic of controversy. The funniest part of all is after the second verse, when the rideshare driver, Murray, interrupts the duet to call out, “Ma’am, I really can’t stay!”
While there really is no reason to be offended by a comical take on a song like this —of course, the duo’s version faced a lot of criticism. From comments stating their version is “Absolutely absurd,” to others saying the original “Shouldn’t be messed with,” to even a select few stating, “Leave your PC b.s. for your own music, please!” The remake certainly caused a lot of uproars, and it’s honestly absurd.
John Legend’s done his best to defend their version, stating “The song was supposed to be silly,” nothing “It wasn’t supposed to be preachy at all. I never disparaged the old version. And, by the way, the original writer, or his family, gets paid for my version, too.”
If you ask me, it’s ridiculous that this even has to be stated. Their version is merely one of a thousand others that people can choose to listen to, and ultimately, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson were only having fun with it. Not to mention— the idea of poking fun and making references at modern society and pop culture in Christmas songs isn’t necessarily a new one. Kristen Bell and Straight No Chaser released a song in 2013 titled Text Me Merry Christmas, joking about people’s inclinations toward phone usage, selfies and texting during the holiday season in replacement of moments spent physically together. This version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” does something similar, joking about rideshare drivers and the redundancy of the original song’s lyrics. It’s playful, innocent, and it’s meant to make you smile —and isn’t that the point of Christmas music at the end of the day, anyway?