10 years after British singer-songwriter Tom Odell gained success with his hit “Another Love,” his song has reentered charts in Europe and the United Kingdom as a major protest song after regaining popularity via TikTok. It is currently Number 9 on the German charts and Number 12 in the UK’s official charts.

The song about frustration and love first began trending after a section of the track was repeatedly used to accompany a range of protest videos. First, in Ukraine it became a symbol of the country’s resilience against the 2022 Russian invasion earlier this year. More recently, women who recorded themselves cutting their hair on social media in support of the women-led protests in Iran, often used the song as a backing track.

‘And if somebody hurts you, I wanna fight…’

The song has gained popularity among protesters especially for the following lines: “And if somebody hurts you, I wanna fight/ But my hands been broken one too many times/ So I’ll use my voice, I’ll be so f**king rude/ Words they always win, but I know I’ll lose.”

Many Iranian women and their supporters have used a soundbite of a crowd singing these lines at an Odell gig to acccompany their protest videos in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was held in custody by Iran’s morality police in September. (Also Read | Forever a guitar legend: Jimi Hendrix)

Regaining popularity after a decade

To underscore its renewed popularity, “Another Love” was streamed one billion times on Spotify in August. “A song has to be streamed frequently, but downloads or real records also count,” Hans Schmucker of GfK Entertainment told dpa. GfK Entertainment compiles the official German charts every week.

“Whoever generates the most sales ends up at Number 1. Social media is an accelerator: Tiktok has become quite important. After all, it’s firmly anchored in the younger target group,” he elaborated. There are also many video snippets of the song on the platform. “It really packs a punch.”

A different protest anthem in Iran

Tom Odell has embraced his new role as a voice for revolutionaries and protesters. In March, he delivered an emotional performance for incoming Ukrainian refugees at a train station in Bucharest, Romania.

Back then, the song was already making its way up the charts worldwide. At a concert in the German city of Hanover in September, he dedicated the song to women in Iran.

“We might be far from Iran here in Hannover Germany, but I think and hope that I speak for everyone in this room that we stand together with everyone protesting for human rights and women’s rights,” he said.

However in Iran itself, which is largely isolated from the West, “Another Love” hardly plays a role.

There is however another song that has become a protest anthem: “Baraye.” It is a ballad that singer Shervin Hajipour compiled at the start of the protests using tweets written by protesters on why they were taking to the streets. He was arrested and had to apologize for it — probably under massive intimidation. The song, however, remains popular there.

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