Sam Smith and Kim Petras' 'Unholy' performance at the Grammys came under scrutiny (Image via Getty Images)

What is the song Unholy by Sam Smith about? Lyrics analysis and meaning explored amid Satanic controversy 

Sam Smith and Kim Petras recently found themselves in the middle of a controversy after delivering a performance of their viral song Unholy at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards.

While the duo bagged the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for the same number, some social media users deemed their performance as “satanic.”

If as a Christian, you think we are reaching when we talk about the dominance and normalization of Satan worship in pop music, you need discernment. Sam Smith’s performance at the Grammy’s last night was satanic, gory. No, it’s not art; it’s symbolic of who they serve.

During the show, Smith and Petras dressed in an all-red ensemble and performed in a setting surrounded by fire and red lights. Petras performed inside a cage alongside dancers wearing devil costumes and holding whips, while Smith wore a red hat with devil horns and held a cane in their hand.

In the wake of the performance, some people labeled the act as “evil” and even compared it to “witchcraft” and Satanism:

Sam Smith and Kim Petras performing their disgusting song titled “Unholy” at the 2023 Grammys.

I didn’t want to post this video but I have to expose how satanic the music industry is. This is so demonic. Stop listening to this GARBAGE. It’s witchcraft!

Seek Jesus.

Smith and Petras were also called out for their continued usage of “Balenciaga” as part of the lyrics for Unholy despite the brand’s controversy about the inappropriate ad campaign featuring children.


The duo were also accused of promoting the now-cancelled fashion brand and allegedly enabling inappropriate devilish themes through their song:

We knew what Hollywood was about when they didn’t denounce Balenciaga. So many celebs remained quiet. Now Sam Smith is giving worship to the devil for millions/children to see. If you believe this is just an expression of art then I don’t know what to tell you except WAKE UP.

While some users continued to criticize the performance, others came to Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ defense by saying that the song Unholy is related to themes of infidelity and adultery instead of being "satanic" or "evil" in nature:

Lemme get this straight...
Someone made a song about how infidelity is evil and describes the act as unholy and even touches on the neglect his family suffers as a result... Directly calls it evil and bad...

Uses visuals to emphasize it...

And it's pro-evil, how?

I'm confused.

Petras thanked Smith for their support and mentioned all “transgender legends” before her for opening the doors and paving the way.


Exploring the lyrics of Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ Unholy

Sam Smith and Kim Petras took the music and entertainment world by storm after releasing their hit track Unholy in September 2022. The song went viral on social media and racked up millions of views on every platform.

Speaking to NME about the track, Smith said that the song felt “cathartic” to experiment with. They also mentioned that the record was about “liberating oneself” from secrets:

“It was so cathartic and freeing to experiment like this and throw out the rule book. It has also been an honor to work with Kim and get to witness her brilliance. This song is about liberating oneself from the clutches of others’ secrets.”

Unholy highlights the themes of infidelity and adultery and explores the story of a woman being cheated on by her husband. Sam Smith acts as a third part in the song and dubs the act of cheating as “unholy” by singing:

“Mummy don't know daddy's getting hot / At the body shop, doing something unholy”

Through the lyrics, the singer reveals that the woman is unaware that her male counterpart is cheating on her with another woman:

“A lucky, lucky girl / She got married to a boy like you / She'd kick you out if she ever, ever knew / 'Bout all the - you tell me that you do”

The man is also dubbed as “dirty” for failing to keep his private life clean and getting involved in a cheating scandal:

“Dirty, dirty boy / You know everyone is talking on the scene / I hear them whispering 'bout the places that you've been / And how you don't know how to keep your business clean”

Kim Petras’ verse in the song denotes the feelings of the woman who the man is cheating his wife with. It sends the message that the woman is staying with the man for his luxurious gifts and material attractions:

“Daddy, daddy, if you want it, drop the add'y / Give me love, give me Fendi, my Balenciaga daddy / You gon' need to bag it up, 'cause I'm spending on Rodeo / You can watch me back it up, I'll be gone in the a.m.”

The lyrics also reveal that the third woman is helping the man keep their relationship under wraps in exchange for material gifts:

“He get me Prada, get me Miu Miu like Rihanna / He always call me 'cause I never cause no drama / And when you want it, baby, I know I got you covered / And when you need it, baby, just jump under the covers”

Smith expresses the feeling of disgust for infidelity through Unholy and condemns the act of cheating on one’s partner.

Sam Smith and Kim Petras' Grammy performance leaves the internet divided

Netizens defend Sam Smith and Kim Petras' 'Unholy' saying the song is about condemning infidilety (Image via Getty Images)

Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ Grammy Awards performance on their viral hit Unholy came under scrutiny as some dubbed the act “satanic” and claimed that the musicians promote “evil” themes through their music.

Many also took to Twitter to share such claims:

Sam Smith offers up a Satanic Grammy performance and it’s in the open for all to see.
Disgusting! I don't think I've ever seen a more demonic display than Sam Smith performance at the Grammys. A horned hat bathed in fire and singing about "doing something unholy" while referencing Balenciaga dresses, this is no coincidence y'all. Satan is showing us who he is
Sam Smith’s satanic performance at the Grammy’s ended with a Pfizer commercial. You can’t get it more on the nose than that. Pfizer and Hollywood deserve each other.
I know we on the right probably use the word satanic too often but this peformance from Sam Smith is literally a tribute to Satan.

Hollywood isn't even trying to hide this evil mess anymore. Madonna glorified Sam Smith as the Unholy. If you don't understand that this is a battle of Good vs Evil rather than Right vs Left then I can't help you but I'll pray for you.

However, several social media users also came to Smith and Petras’ defense and noted that the song is about adultery and infidelity and not about promoting Satanism:

🧵 The right having a meltdown over Sam Smith’s “demonic performance” don’t get he’s talking about a man committing adultery being “unholy,” and Petra is playing the woman he’s cheating with. He’s condemning an adulterous affair in the song. It has zero to do w/him or being gay.
Obviously these people don't give much thought to anything other than their spectacle, much less why the song is called "Unholy".

Sam Smith is a Catholic. "Unholy" is a song in which he literally describes adultery as, per the title, "unholy". There is no "satanic ritual" here.
The song is about a man committing adultery, which is considered an “unholy” act, and Sam Smith is dressed as and playing the part of the devil on the man’s shoulder tempting him to cheat, but y’know these are things that require basic thought or a grasp of art to understand 🤷🏻‍♂️…
If as a Christian, you think we are reaching when we talk about the dominance and normalization of Satan worship in pop music, you need discernment. Sam Smith’s performance at the Grammy’s last night was satanic, gory. No, it’s not art; it’s symbolic of who they serve.
@mtgreenee Umm, not a Sam Smith fan & I'm 72 years old, but even I figured out that "Unholy" is a song about adultery. You know about adultery, right?
@tedcruz It’s a song where an act of adultery is called “unholy.” Why are conservatives so enraged by that?

@ben_kew Oh, if only you bothered to learn what the song is about. "Unholy" is a condemnation of adultery, using religious themes. The satanic element of the performance is designed to represent the temptation that leads people to commit "unholy" acts. Next time, read the lyrics.
I’m a literal Christian minister. Sam Smith’s song is called #Unholy and they created a piece of performance art around that theme. They weren’t saying we should all be satanists.

Know what is evil? Kids being killed in schools, families living in poverty, racist hate, etc, etc…
The darkness, the red, the flames, the Devil horns were theatrical ways of illustrating “unholy.”

In other words, “commit adultery, and go to hell” is the message all these “angry Christians” are so very angry about.

(We knew they don’t give a fig or a fart for Commandment 6)
Ted Cruz said Sam Smith's GRAMMYs performance of "Unholy" was "EVIL":

Evil is when a man walks into a school & murders a dozen children

Evil is when Russia bombs schools & hospitals to steal land

Evil is NOT when a musician dances around in a devil suit performing a hit song.

As reactions continue to pour in online, it remains to be seen whether Sam Smith and Kim Petras will address their Grammy performance controversy in the coming days.

Edited by
Barsha Roy
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