I hear them whispering 'bout the places that you've been
And how you don't know how to keep your business clean
Mummy don’t know daddy’s getting hot at the body shop
Doing something unholy
He’s sat back while she’s dropping it, she be popping it, yeah
She put it down slowly
Oh, he left his kids at home
So, he can get that
Mummy don’t know daddy’s getting hot at the body shop, doing something unholy
People active on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram probably must have heard of the song ‘Unholy’ by Sam Smith. Within a week of Sam Smith uploading a small snippet of the song with the above mentioned lyrics, the video containing the song on TikTok played over 35 million views in just a couple of weeks. The song started trending on TikTok and Instagram, followed by numerous influencers, creators, and bloggers who jumped onto the trend. While many fans were excited to hear the song's entirety, others were not so happy about the premise on which the song was based. The song has a darker undertone which many people may ignore due to the almost celebratory-like chorus prevalent throughout the song. In the first two lines
“I hear them whispering 'bout the places that you've been
And how you don't know how to keep your business clean”
Sam Smith is seen talking to the man who cheated on his wife. He addresses the situation by telling him that he is lucky to have such a wonderful wife like that, yet, he chooses to come to the ‘body shop,’ i.e., strip club. The song’s dark undertones and the use of certain words in the song, such as ‘unholy’ implies that these actions are morally wrong. This brings a divine perspective into play as the audience also silently hopes that the cheater is caught.
The song may seem unproblematic; however, it is essential to note that it almost seems as if the cheater’s actions are being glorified towards the end of the song.
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
Previously, Sam Smith mentioned how the man leaves behind his “kids” to spend more time at the “body shop.” After the main chorus, the German singer, Kim Petras, further lures the man in by stating that she will always remain on his back and call whenever he “needs it.” At this point, it becomes unclear whether the song condemns the cheater's actions or glorifies the exchange of ‘services’ at the ‘body shop.’ This dilemma in the song did not sit well with many of Sam Smith’s songs as they stated that it brought back painful memories of when they were cheated on by their significant other.
Secondly, this song became very popular on social media platforms that are used by millions of individuals that fall under the age bracket of 13-19, which can be classified into impressionable years. Songs like ‘Unholy’ play a huge role in contributing to the identity development of many individuals who frequently use social media. Moreover, when individuals are constantly exposed to such content, their expectations regarding relationships are similarly formed. Lastly, the song's lyrics imply the normalization of infidelity among the youth. This is coupled with how the song states that the man left the kids at home with his wife while he went out to seek pleasure in places outside the house. In this sense, the actions of the man and the woman magnify the supposed role of the woman. On the other hand, the man is not held accountable for his actions inside the vicinity of his house or even outside the house. This song is seen to be problematic in this sense as it reinstates the gender stereotypes within society that further promote sexism, discrimination, and infidelity within society.