It’s that time again! December is upon us, and everyone’s ready to celebrate the holidays. Garland decorates the streets. Lights twinkle in the windows. And Christmas songs fill the air with messages of joy and love… or so we thought. If one were to take a closer look at some of America’s most treasured holiday songs, he/she would discover the creepiness truly lurking behind the ‘holiday cheer.’
I’m not being cynical here! Thousands of people across the nation have come to recognize these songs as having ominous messages. For example, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is a classic duet between Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer. The song tells a story about a boy (Johnny) and a girl (Margaret) ‘stuck’ inside the boy’s house because of a ‘huge storm’ outside. Margaret tries to leave, but Johnny insists she stay with him because ‘it’s cold outside,’ hence the title.
America has come to accept this song as ‘romantic,’ but many of Margaret’s lines seem like a cry for help. She says “I simply must go”, “The answer is no”, and “I’ve got to go home.” Johnny ignores her protests, simply responding with predatory lines like “Mind if I move in closer?”, “Baby, don’t hold out”, and “Ooh your lips are delicious.” Back in the 50’s, it was assumed that Margaret simply wanted to protect her reputation, but she sounds like she genuinely wants to get away from Johnny! There is also the line “Hey, what’s in this drink”, which suggests that Johnny has perhaps slipped some drugs into her refreshment. Date rape alert!! He continues to pressure her throughout the course of the song, even though she has clearly denied him many times. The song concludes with Margaret singing the shudder inducing line, “I really shouldn’t – Alright.” But considering the roofie that was clearly slipped into her drink and all the alcohol she drank, Margaret was definitely not sober enough to make that decision.
To further demonstrate this point, here’s a video showing what these lyrics sound like without being sung. The result? Totally creepy.
Another questionable song is ‘Santa Baby,’ originally sang by Eartha Kitt in 1953. Throughout the famous tune, she simply lists things she wants Santa to bring her, and reasons why he should do so. The premise is innocent enough, but her sultry tone makes her motives seem questionable. She calls Santa, “baby”, “honey”, and “cutie”, telling him she’ll “wait up for him,” as long as he brings her everything she wants. Eartha also says, “Next year I could be just as good, If you’ll check off my Christmas list,” She seems like a prostitute! It might seem like a bit of a stretch to anyone who hasn’t heard the song, but if you listen to it with this in mind, it will be hard to disagree.
Listen to the original song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFMyF9fDKzE
These two classics are simply the beginning of a long list of creepy holiday songs. So the next time you mindlessly sing along to these catchy tunes, look a little closer at the lyrics. What you see just might surprise you.