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.”
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:
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:
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:
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
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:
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:
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.