“Somebody Should Leave”
Written by Harlan Howard and Chick Rains
Radio & Records
#1 (2 weeks)
April 19 – April 26, 1985
#1 (1 week)
May 11, 1985
“How Blue” demonstrated that McEntire was a vocalist to be contended with. With “Somebody Should Leave,” demonstrates her ability to give voice to a woman’s internal anguish.
I won’t mince words here. “Somebody Should Leave” is as good an impending divorce ballad as has ever been written, and McEntire sings it better than anyone else could’ve done. The song’s most gut-wrenching line – “You need the kids, and they need me” – is delivered with multiple layers of heartbreak. She’s sad for what her husband will lose, and she’s sad for how her kids will suffer without him, but she also knows that this story can only end one way; the “babies down the hall” will be staying with her.
The song is nearly all internal monologue, and we feel her pain as she fakes reading a book to pass the time (“I’m so sad I don’t know what I’ve just read”) and later, when the couple exchanges their only words of the evening (“We say ‘good night,’ and turn and face the wall. We lay here in the darkness, and the tears start to fall.”) We’re being let into the most intimate moments of a marriage while it’s on the verge of collapse.
It’s an extraordinary record where everything comes together as if preordained by fate: the perfect song for the perfect singer at the perfect time. McEntire’s road to the Hall of Fame begins here.
“Somebody Should Leave” gets an A.
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