Trent Tomlinson – “Angels Like Her”

Karlie Justus Marlowe | October 22nd, 2009

trent-tomlinson-angels-like-herSongwriters: Aaron Barker, Arlos Smith and Trent Tomlinson.

The popular thematic contrast of “heaven and hell” has long been a way for songwriters to tie together the dichotomy of human life into one nicely alliterative phrase: While “heaven” covers small country churches, family time and blissful courtships, “hell” represents the bars, whiskey, heartbreak and regret that sometimes stem from imbalances in important relationships.

It is also an apt way to describe Trent Tomlinson’s latest single “Angels Like Her,” which massages that idea into a heavenly little slice of a song with one hell of an opening lyric: “The sunbeam hit the Jim Beam and ricocheted off a bottle of Coke/Cut through the still smoldering second-hand night-before smoke/The whisky’s half-empty, half in me, my enemy and my friend/Well, last night drowned my sorrows, but today is tomorrow again.”

That verse sets a well-crafted tone for the rest of the song and showcases Tomlinson’s proven knack for turning a phrase. By articulating the scene of the morning-after crime through details of the tastes, smells, sounds and feelings of coming down off of a one-night stand, the listener might as well be sitting on his couch with him, nursing a double whammy of a hangover and heartache.

Although it’s the second single off Tomlinson’s upcoming sophomore album A Guy Like Me after “Henry Cartwright’s Produce Stand” failed to stick, the song originally appeared on his debut album Country Is My Rock.

Luckily, “Angel Like Her’s” production complements the tune by largely staying out of its lyrics’ way, with strains of the steel guitar echoing the regret of the song’s protagonist in a way that only a steel guitar can. The song, co-written by the singer with the help of Aaron Baker and Arlos Smith, has Mark Chesnutt written all over it, but Tomlinson’s voice serves up lines like ”Yeah, she came straight from Heaven/But I know the devil did too” with enough honky-tonk matter-of-factness to be believable.

At times, “Angels Like Her” becomes a bit plodding and heavy-handed, and its chorus can’t quite compete with the beauty of its verses. However, it’s nice to see Tomlinson’s mix of neo-traditional and outlaw styles on display in one of the best-written songs to hit mainstream country music in recent memory.

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3 Pings

  1. [...] Thursday’s review of Trent Tomlinson’s new single “Angels Like Her,” we learned that although the song is set to appear on his upcoming [...]
  2. [...] Thursday’s review of Trent Tomlinson’s new single “Angels Like Her,” we learned that although the song is set to appear on his upcoming [...]
  3. [...] what an exhale it is. If Trent Tomlinson’s “Angels Like Her” had the best opening line of 2009, LeAnn Rimes inherits this year’s title with her new [...]
  1. plain_jo
    October 22, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I have long been a fan of this song. The opening line is the best i’ve ever heard. Hope the song does well.

  2. Jordan Stacey
    October 22, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I’m also a fan of the song from the original album, but I’m getting tired of releasing songs from previous albums, it seems like everybody’s doing it. “Eight Second Ride” – Jake Owen, Kellie Pickler’s “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You”, Brad Paisley – “Waitin’ On A Woman”, Keith Urban’s “You Look Good In My Shirt”, etc.

    Also just to edit this is the third single, “That’s How It Still Oughta Be” and “Henry Cartwright’s Produce Stand” were the first.

  3. Chris N.
    October 22, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I’m at a loss to explain this trend. I’m thinking of it as another weird glitch on the way to the extinction of the album format.

  4. Jim Malec
    October 22, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I also attribute it to the fact that great songs are now commonly passed over for songs that test well at a given point in time and within a given demographic.

    “Waitin’ on a Woman,” “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You” and “Angels Like Her” were all among the top two or three strongest songs on their respective albums. Not releasing them as singles the first go-round was criminal.

    There has to be some residual pressure there, when looking at potential material for the next project.

  5. Andrew
    October 22, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Whatever the reasons for going back to release songs from previous albums, this is a case where it was a good decision. This is a very good single.

  6. Waynoe
    October 22, 2009 at 1:49 pm


    A good observation. The “testing” of songs is the driving force. It more used to be that the songs could cut or create the path in the wilderness; now the path is already cut due to demographics and other criteria and it’s simply finding a song to fit the already prescribed mold.

    Just imagine songwriters who have sold their soul and work on a production line to come up with jingles to fit the corporate-established trend.

    Nonetheless Tomlinson has a good voice but if this album sputters, and it probably will, that will be all she wrote for him as we know it.

  7. Lanibug
    October 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I have to agree with Andrew this is one heck of a song and I have always liked it.

  8. Truersound
    October 22, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    geez, that guy look like a douche

  9. Rick
    October 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    This is a nice song and I like the production, which means its chances at AirHead Top 40 country radio are slim at best. Since the mainstream country realm has become a popularity contest where the music itself is a secondary factor, artists like Trent that aren’t Top 40 regulars have a huge challenge with each new single. Pop-rock crap geared for the teenybopper audience is far more likely to be embraced than a quality song like this. Who needs Trent when we have Gloriana and Fast Ryde….

  10. Thomas
    October 23, 2009 at 6:38 am

    …something just doesn’t feel/sound right. perhaps the fact that garth is not singing this picture-perfect-garth-song.

  11. idlewildsouth
    October 23, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Wow, I’d never heard it that way, but there are some classic Garth turns of phrase here.

  12. antonino
    October 23, 2009 at 10:12 am

    if he keeps wearing those doo-rags (and hats), he’s going to develop dwight yoakam disease (premature baldness).

  13. M
    October 26, 2009 at 3:39 am

    Gloriana are VERY talented, you have NO right to judge if you haven’t seen or heard them acoustic. I don’t get the need to insult individiual acts to justify complimenting another.

    And yes, I too am very happy this is his single now. His first album remains one of my favorites, and wow – Aaron Barker! I had forgotten he co-wrote this. :) I really didn’t get the appeal of “Henry Cartwright’s,” though I guess it is a unique story song…don’t get the fun in going to buy fruit and vegetables only to be yelled at for my sins instead.

  14. Stormy
    October 26, 2009 at 6:39 am

    How can we be required to judge Gloriana as something other than what they present themselves as?

  15. Jon
    October 26, 2009 at 7:56 am

    “I don’t get the need to insult individiual acts to justify complimenting another.”

    It’s a mystery, isn’t it?

  16. Regina George
    September 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I love this song. It’s unique and lyrically amazing. The opening line, it’s self is beyond rediculous in it’s imagery alone. that being said it’ hard for the chorus to compete as the 2nd verse is equally well done. This song sounds alot like another song of his, “The Bottle.” which i also love. and you need to listen to if you like his style. I’ve seen this guy live and I feel bad because he can’t figure out why his songs aren’t doing well.. when they obviousley should be. It’s really a shame because both his vocals and craft for writing are fab. buttt, I guarantee if George Strait cut one of these it would be gold.
    and to add to the commentary, I thought “Henry Cartwright’s” was a good attempt but there was a lot of reading between the lines, and also.. a subject that i just didn’t care to hear about. maybe when I’m 40.

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