I definitely appreciate the holiday season, as well as all the great holiday-themed music that bursts through the radios at this time of year.
But recently, some radio stations have altered their Christmas playlists to take one song out of rotation – the duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” You know, this song.
This is the original appearance of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” It’s from the motion picture “Neptune’s Daughter,” one of Esther Williams’ swimming and romance pictures. That’s Ricardo Montalban sweet-talking / moving in on Esther Williams – meanwhile, in another part of the film, comedians Red Skelton and Betty Garrett do the same song, only with Skelton trying to escape the clutches of Garrett’s romantic whims.
First off … although “Baby It’s Cold Outside” actually won the Oscar for Best Original Song this song was NOT in a Christmas movie and was NOT originally written as a Christmas song. Neptune’s Daughter was a romantic comedy – actually the third time that Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban were billed as the romantic leads. But over time, it has found its way into Christmas movies. Here’s an example of same.
But is the song really a romantic duet – or has it become a statement of outdated courtship modes? The unrelenting pursuit by the man of the woman who questions what’s in her alcoholic drink… that keeps her in the compromising position with the man, despite, wanting to leave?
Geez, you almost expect Bill Cosby to be singing the lead after he dropped some magic pills into the girl’s Coca-Cola.
Yeah, I get it. As far as I’m concerned, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a decent enough song, but it’s really not a Christmas song. Realistically, what lyric in the song has any reference to Christmas, other than the line about the temperature outside? I mean, you could raise the argument that “Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” has the same theme, but honestly in that one both parties involved in the song are mutually agreeable to staying inside rather than braving the cold wintery outdoors, it’s not one person trying to roofie the other into staying the night.
And I don’t have a problem with the song going the way of history. I don’t.
You know what other songs can hit the bricks? “Santa Baby.”
“Santa Baby” was one of many songs in the revue New Faces of 1952, a film that helped stars like Eartha Kitt, Paul Lynde and Alice Ghostley to stardom. And Eartha Kitt is magnificent in this picture. But what she did in making “Santa Baby” an awesome track has devolved into other performers turning the song into the ode of a greedy, Betty Boop-voiced vixen who will use her sexuality to claim the most expensive treasures from Santa’s velvet sack, by any means necessary.
Yeah, we can pretty much cull this track from the holiday playlist. Buh bye.
You know what other song needs to leave the holiday routine? “Same Old Lang Syne.”
I’m sorry. I love Dan Fogelberg. And I love this song. But it makes an oblique reference in one lyric to “The snow was falling, Christmas Eve,” and then goes on for five minutes as two ships that passed in the night re-passed each other, drank their sorrows away and wished their lives had been much better than they expected. I mean, by that argument, Harry Chapin’s “Taxi” should be a Christmas song, amirite?
Believe me, I love this song. But it’s not a Christmas song. No it is not. If I want to hear a song that’s truly about Christmas misery, I’d find the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” and go with that one instead.
Listen, there’s plenty of room for great Christmas songs about presents and love and comfort and intimacy. I’m really not sure we need songs about greed and coercion and rejection in that mix as well.
That’s just how I feel about this. I could be wrong, but it’s my opinion, so I’m not wrong. 😀