“Baby it’s Cold Outside” is one of those classic Christmas songs we’ve been listening to every year since it was first penned by Frank Loesser in 1944, making its debut in the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter. Today, though, it’s hard to listen to the song without cringing.
The charged duet between a man and a woman sounds cheesy on its surface, but listen closely and you hear an exchange between a woman who clearly states she wants to leave and a man that doing everything he can to get her to stay. With sexually aggressive lyrics like “What’s the sense of hurtin’ my pride?” and “How can you do this thing to me?”, the song is like the “Blurred Lines” of the holiday songbook.
That’s something Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski have worked to change in their rendition of the song: a rewrite that replaces the male duet partner’s lyrics with new messages like “Baby, I’m fine with that” and “Hoping you get home safe.” It’s humorous, but makes a serious point about the importance of sexual consent and mutual respect.
Lydia Liza, a singer-songwriter who rose to local fame as the frontwoman of Bomba de Luz, additionally makes solo music and performs with bands including MINNIE / BLUNTZ. Lemanski also writes and records his own music.
Their new version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” even finds a perfect answer to one of the original’s most unsettling lyrics. “What is this drink?” sings Liza.
Lemanski responds enthusiastically. “Pomegranate LaCroix!”
Simone Cazares is a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas, majoring in communication and journalism. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.