Is it too late to ask? Or too early? Or…

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” by Frank Loesser, sung by Barbra Streisand:


Video posted by ChristmasCottage’s channel

According to the Songfacts blog, this is the second most popular song for the end of the year, and it is “the kind of ballad that is usually sung in a melancholy tone because the singer instinctively knows the answer (you’re probably busy).” Fits.

So let’s undercut the melancholy with this playful version sung by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt:


Video by HelloGiggles/Zooey Deschanel

Maybe it’s that they’re clearly having so much fun, or maybe it’s that it’s a duet, but one way or another, that doesn’t sound sad or wistful to me at all–they sound like the answer they’re expecting is, “Spending it with you, you idiot!”

Deschanel is wrong about one thing, though–the original isn’t by Nancy Wilson, whose recording of the song came out in 1965. The song was written by Frank Loesser (about whom I have already written this year) in 1947 as an independent song,

(Which leads me to believe that Gordon-Levitt has a penchant for Loesser’s music–which is not a complaint, just an observation!)

and it was first recorded by The Orioles a couple of years later.

Continue reading “Is it too late to ask? Or too early? Or…”

It’s very nasty out tonight. Really very.

And while it is not below-freezing cold, it is also not really weather that makes the idea of going outside at all appealing…

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” by Frank Loesser, as sung by Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt:


Video courtesy of Dragon Blast

This is another one of those songs that everyone, but EVERYONE, has covered. Recent pairings include Sara Bareilles and Seth McFarland, Idina Menzel and Michael BublĂ© (which has a video I find more than slightly creepy), and Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker. The one I brought in–from “Lady Gaga & The Muppet’s Holiday Spectacular”–I find especially charming. Don’t they seem to be having a blast? I love that!

And the role reversal helps pull the teeth of a bit of controversy that arose around the song over the years–the “wolf” and “mouse” aspects of the song bothers some people. And of course, if you just look at the lyrics (or listen to some of the recorded duets), it can certainly be read as a man pressuring a woman to submit to sex. It seems to me only fair to the songwriter, however to bear in mind that the song was originally written by Loesser to sing with his wife at parties as a signal that things were starting to wind down. (And indeed, if your hosts are singing that to each other in front of you, it does become clear that you are looking at two people who would very much rather you left…now!) His then-wife, Lynn Garland, in fact, was not in the least bit happy when he sold the song to MGM, Oscar or no Oscar (and it did win the Oscar for Best Original Song), since it was supposed to be “theirs.” And I think this Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Lady Gaga duet makes it just as clear as the Loesser’s duet must have done that there’s no coercion going on here, it’s all just flirtation.

Continue reading “It’s very nasty out tonight. Really very.”

Hey, hey–the holidays are not yet over!

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” by Frank Loesser, sung by the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald:


Video by TheBillie HolidayExperience

According to the Songfacts blog, this is the second most popular song for the end of the year, and it is “the kind of ballad that is usually sung in a melancholy tone because the singer instinctively knows the answer (you’re probably busy).”

So let’s undercut the melancholy with this sweet version sung by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt:


Video by HelloGiggles/Zooey Deschanel

Maybe it’s that they’re clearly having so much fun, or maybe it’s that it’s a duet, but one way or another, that doesn’t sound sad or wistful to me at all.

So, um, you know … what ARE you doing? (We’ll be right here.)
Continue reading “Hey, hey–the holidays are not yet over!”

It’s raining in New York.

And while it is not terribly cold, it is also not really weather that makes the idea of standing outside for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting appealing…

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” by Frank Loesser, as sung by Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt:


Video courtesy of Dragon Blast

(More about the song and songwriter after the jump.)
Continue reading “It’s raining in New York.”

It’s very unpleasant out there

Rainy and sleety and raw, brrrrr. Tree lighting or no, I really think you should stay home, really I do…

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” by Frank Loesser, as sung by Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt:


Video courtesy of Dragon Blast

(There is a new version of the song this year (as there usually is), this one sung by Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé. The vocals are lovely–but the official video creeps me out a little, so I re-used the Muppet Holiday Spectacular one instead.)

It really is quite cold…

Baby, It’s Cold Outside, written by Frank Loesser and sung by Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt:

(Because it’s FREEZING out there where I am!)

Did you know that Frank Loesser (possibly best known for Guys and Dolls) wrote this to sing with his wife at parties? It’s true! He then sold it to MGM, where it won the Oscar for Best Original Song.