Kelly Clarkson and Carly Pearce join Kelsea Ballerini for this kiss-off anthem to an inebriated suitor.
Ballerini sets the scene in the first verse where the buzzed guy has just hit on her in a bar. She makes it clear he's got no chance, pelting him with some sassy insults.
I bet you still live with your mama
Down in her basement, tryin' to be Nirvana
Ballerini had been enjoying a girls' night out with Clarkson and Pearce, and her two friends back her up on the chorus.
You're drunk, go home
If you're trying to hook up
Gotta do it alone
The way you're slurring and the way you stumble
Ain't no way you're gonna get my number
Pearce and Clarkson continue to support their friend on the second verse with some more pointed comebacks to his advances.
Yeah, I know you're a Virgo, that's the third time you told me
Just 'cause I am too doesn't mean that you know me
Kelsea Ballerini recorded "You're Drunk, Go Home" for Subject to Change
. Because the country star had done a lot in the preceding few years before the album, she'd planned on recording every track solo. "I love collaborations, but I just wanted to make sure that I could stand on my own two feet," she told Billboard
But after writing the song with Shane McAnally and Julian Bunetta, Ballerini couldn't shake the idea of an all-female trio singing the track. "I felt that there's some sass and comedy to this song," she said. "So I thought, 'Who are the women in my life that are artists that have both of those things?"
Ballerini's first call was to Pearce. The pair have been friends since their early days in Nashville and toured together. They'd always wanted to do a joint song, so when Ballerini approached Pearce, she signed up without even hearing it.
Ballerini wanted "someone who can add a different texture, vocally," for the third vocalist. She thought Kelly Clarkson would be the biggest ask, so Ballerini texted her song in the morning. She agreed and did her vocals that night.
When Pearce laid down her harmony and melody vocals, Ballerini joined her in the studio. At the end of that session, they added some additional chatter. "After she did her lead parts, we did like a... we called it s--t-talk track," Ballerini said, laughing. "Julian hit record and for literally three and a half minutes, through the whole song, we just talked s--t."
The singer added that the whole track is in the recording, Bunetta just pushed it down deep in the mix.
When Clarkson recorded her vocals, she added some extra ad-libs that we hear at the end of the track. "Kelly also sent in some funny stuff, like the part of the song where she goes, 'Um, Byeee!'" said Ballerini. "We just wanted to match that energy, because we had Kelly's track already and wanted to match that energy and personality. Carly and I are such good friends that it was funny to just be like, 'All right, let's go off.'"
A few weeks before dropping Subject To Change, Ballerini announced the end of her marriage to Morgan Evans. Both Pearce and Clarkson had gone through public divorces a year or two before this collaboration. "I think you could not have matched three more perfect women at this point in their lives to sign this song," commented Ballerini.
When Clarkson welcomed Kelsea Ballerini on the September 30, 2022 episode of her talk show, she recalled being under the influence as she recorded her vocals for the song.
The host explained she'd already had some celebratory drinks since it was her last day of work before a summer break. When she got to the studio with music director Jason Halbert, she told him she hadn't anticipated singing that day.
"So, I had to sing a song called 'You're Drunk, Go Home' inebriated," said Clarkson, "trying to sing first soprano parts like, 'I'm fine!'"
Clarkson insisted that she's not in the habit of recording music while tipsy. "This has never happened to me in 20 years!" she protested. "I've never, ever been inebriated while singing something. And now I am while singing 'you're drunk, go home.'"