Into My Playlist: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Again, apologies for still running behind on my posts, but I’m nearly caught up on them, thankfully. This should be a fun one.

Today, we’re going to be talking about my only Christmas song. I don’t like Christmas movies (except Love Actually), and I don’t like Christmas music except “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

I’m not a Scrooge. Christmas is a deeply spiritual time, and I take it very seriously in my spiritual calendar, but the whole “festive” thing has always seemed like an elaborate way of missing the point. The best gestures of goodwill and love are the ones that happen without reminders or recognition, year round.

I absolutely believe in Santa Claus, but that doesn’t mean I have to watch Hallmark Christmas movies all winter (plus July), or that I want to be assaulted with Christmas music for two months. Because honestly, we’re lucky if people wait for Halloween to be over before they start Christmas.

The great thing about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is that it’s more of a winter song than a Christmas song, and the sass could really work year-round, so having it as a regular on my iTunes is perfectly acceptable.

For those familiar with this song you’ll know that there are a ridiculous number of versions, and to be honest I haven’t met one that I didn’t enjoy. Someday I may even devote myself to collecting some of my favorites. But the only one I have at the moment is my favorite version, performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan. Because who doesn’t love Ella?

Now, this song has a mixed reputation. Apart from being one of the most beloved songs of all time, there’s a definite case to be made for it being a creepy date rape song. A sampling of such lines?

“Say what’s in this drink?”

Yes. A girl goes to see her boyfriend in the middle of a snowstorm. Yes, they have a few drinks. And cigarettes, as it happens. And yes, things definitely happen, as the girl is borrowing a comb and saying how she really ought to be getting home. He keeps her there by pointing out that the storm is very bad, and he wouldn’t forgive himself if something happened to her.

Yes. It could be a creepy date rape song. But I happen to think of it as more the girl chose to go by in the middle of a snowstorm knowing full well they had an excuse for her not being home. She does worry that people will know, but as he keeps pointing out, it’s not really safe for her to go home anyway. And she does ask for more alcohol. And cigarettes. It doesn’t have to be sinister.

And even if it is, I can’t escape the deliciousness of something slightly sinister being delivered in such upbeat, cheerful tones and played for several months every year along with precious holiday tunes to unsuspecting children. It’s my inner Mistress of Dark Emotion. I can’t help myself.

So that’s my Christmas song. Want to take bets on whether next week will be another ironically cheerful song?




About jillianavaloncolumbiatheatre

Recent college graduate, writer, aspiring teacher, lover of literature and art.

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