John Legend is here to save the controversial festive classic Baby, It’s Cold Outside from the culture wars.
After the 75-year-old song became a lightning rod for discourse about consent and political correctness ― several radio stations pulled the standard from the air last year ― he and fellow singer Kelly Clarkson are releasing a retooled version.
In a Vanity Fair interview published on Monday, John revealed his plans for a forthcoming Christmas album, arriving sometime in 2020 that will include Baby, It’s Cold Outside with a “newfound sensitivity”.
He even gave us a peek at the lyrics, which were co-written by Insecure star Natasha Rowell, for easier and decidedly less creepy listening:
“What will my friends think..?” sings Kelly.
“I think they should rejoice,” John responds.
“...if I have one more drink?”
“It’s your body, and your choice.”
John, is, of course not the first artist to try his hand at updating the duet — various rewrites of the song emphasising the need for consent went viral last year.
An honest and downright disturbing performance of the song by comedians Casey Wilson and Scott Aukerman was released back in 2015 to shine a light on some of the more questionable lyrics.
Critics of the original song by Frank Loesser take issue with the – typically male – singer persuading his counterpart to stay inside by any means necessary, with predatory exchanges like “What’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?” and “Baby, don’t hold out”.
Elsewhere in the Vanity Fair article, John touches on his decision to appear in the documentary Surviving R Kelly and his continued support for victims of sexual abuse and harassment.
“He was already cancelled in my mind,” the singer told the outlet about his criticism of R Kelly. “A few years ago, we had a party at the house and we had a DJ playing music. R Kelly came on and I walked up to the DJ and said, ’We don’t play him in this house’.”