John Legend’s woke version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” that neuters the song of its flirtatious nature in favor of #MeToo sermonizing has severely ticked off Sharon Osbourne (mother of Kelly and wife of Ozzy).
“What would John Legend do, if in 40 years, if somebody wanted to … re-record one of his songs, and there was some group that found it offensive, and somebody just went, ‘Oh, I can change the lyrics on that,’” Osbourne said on “The Talk” Monday, as reported by Fox News. “It’s, to me, like a master painting. It’s a piece of art.”
Speaking with Vanity Fair, Legend revealed last week that he and songwriter Natasha Rothwell rewrote the song to reflect a more woke mindset — one that will include such feminist lyrics as, “it’s your body, and your choice.” He performed the male voice while Kelly Clarkson performed the female.
“The new lyrics hear Clarkson sing ‘What will my friends think?,’ with Legend replying: ‘I think they should rejoice.’ Kelly, 37, then sings: ‘… if I have one more drink?,’ with John singing: ‘It’s your body, and your choice,’” Metro reported of the song changes.
Vanity Fair added that the song will be “every bit as fun and swinging as the original, and its newfound sensitivity feels genuine, not performative.”
Osbourne denounced the changes as “ridiculous,” describing the original lyrics as innocent fun.
“To change an innocent lyric, to what is it, ‘Your mind and your body’? What the hell are you on? That’s ridiculous,” Osbourne said. “I have to tell you, I love John Legend. I love John Legend’s wife, his family. He’s an amazing artist that I really respect. Why do you do this? That’s not right.”
Osbourne’s co-hosts agreed that an artist should not re-record a song they dislike, let alone severely alter it.
During Christmas last year, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” became the center of national controversy when some feminists, unable to see the nuance in the song’s flirtatious nature, deemed it a date rape anthem. This prompted a Cleveland radio station to ban the song entirely after some listeners complained it sent the wrong message in the #MeToo era. However, the song’s creator, Frank Loesser, intended it as a flirtatious song between a man and a woman on a cold winter’s night, with critics typically overlooking the part where the woman sings, “baby it’s cold outside” in unison with her male partner — thus seemingly signifying that the two were always in sync.
Frank Loesser’s daughter, Susan Loesser, asserted at the time that the song was originally performed at parties by her mom and dad, neither of whom ever intended the lyrics to be a date rape anthem.
“Way before #Me Too, I would hear from time to time people call it a date rape song,” said Loesser. “I would get annoyed because it’s a song my father wrote for him and my mother to sing at parties. People used to say ‘what’s in this drink’ as a joke. You know, this drink is going straight to my head so what’s in this drink? Back then it didn’t mean you drugged me.”