Chart Mondays: Sam Smith & Kim Petras - Unholy

October 03, 2022 Critic Jonni 0 Comments

Now, this is what we call an all-out music video, but what do we expect from a Sam Smith & Kim Petras team-up with the title "Unholy"? There's literally so much to unpack in this four-and-a-half-minute music video, there's just so much going on and I always see something new. The LGBTQ+ representation is undeniable and effortlessly done - again, we expected this from Sam Smith and Kim Petras. 

They've topped the UK Singles Chart this week with this song and I hope it's a chart mainstay as we need these unapologetic queer artists at the top of charts around the world! In topping the UK Chart both Sam Smith and Kim Petras have made history (ermmm... I mean herstory), because this is Sam Smith's first number one in the UK since he came out as non-binary becoming the first, and only ever (to date), non-binary artist to top the UK charts, and Kim Petras follows suits becoming the first, and only (to date), trans artist to top the charts; time for this LGBTQ+ duo to break records and stereotypes around the world!

Other than the UK, this track has seen itself sit atop global charts including Australia, Canada, the Billboard Global 200, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, New Zealand, and Slovakia. I'm sure more chart number ones are around the corner, since it's at the top spot on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube charts globally - including Romania, Singapore, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United States, amongst others.

As a Kim Petras fan, I instantly love this song, (how "Coconuts" wasn't a worldwide hit I'll never know) and I've been pretty keen on Sam Smith's latest tracks, with their "Diamonds" single easily being one of my top songs of 2020 (it just speaks to me as it was released a few months after the breakdown of my relationship of nearly three years). "Unholy" was written by Sam Smith, Kim Petras, Blake Slatkin, Henry Russell Walter, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Omer Fedi, and James Napier, whilst it was produced by Sam Smith, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Cirkut, Omer Fedi, Jimmy Napes, and Blake Slatkin. 

Directed by Floria Sigismondi with Joel Honeywell acting as director of photography, this "Unholy" music video is stunning, incredible, and truly unforgettable. It has all the elements of a great music video, especially with an engaging narrative whilst also making Sam Smith and Kim Petras totally shine. The choreography was created by French dance collective (LA)HORDE, with notoriously-known drag queens Violet Chachki (winner of season seven of RuPaul's Drag Race) and Gottmik (third place in the 13th season of RuPaul's Drag Race) acting as the bosses of the club - which is the only issue I have with this music video, as these two queens do not have the best reputation and I don't understand why UK drag queens weren't used instead, or even local drag queens, as the RuPaul Drag Race UK already spans four seasons with many credible alumni who have already proven their brilliance in music videos, although special shout-out to Baby who is one of the dancers in the video and is also currently on series four of RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

The music video opens up with a couple, where the husband (played by Henry Davis) decides to attend a sex club cabaret venue instead of being beside his wife (played by Maren Bjorneseth) at a Poetry and Literature party. He drops her off, makes sure she takes his coat as it's cold, and tells her not to wait up; only in his rush, he forgot about the unopened condom wrapper with the venue, "The Body Shop", emblazoned on the front, the name of the club, which was in the coat pocket. We then watch him go into a garage where Sam Smith and Kim Petras are mechanics, but it's all a front for the cabaret show that's around the back.

Taking inspiration from The Clockwork Orange, Moulin Rouge, Madonna, Claude Cahun, Crazy Horse, Mr. Pearl, and Bob Fosse, this music video really has it all. Sam Smith is a legend for the dance spotlight they have on them with the incredible backing dancers highlighting them in every way. Their confidence and strength on stage really is bright and it's clear that Sam Smith is owning who they are and hands down their stage presence is out of this world. Sam Smith loving themselves is a total goal! Kim Petras brings it in her Madonna and Moulin Rouge moment too! This is just beyond epic!

The ending sees the husband's scandals shown publicly with a car behind him that has spray-painted words on which are "Liar", "Cheat", and "Fumier", the latter being in French which means "Manure" or as we brits would say, "Shit", or any combination of that word which the husband can definitely be described as. The wife walks into "The Body Shop" and sees this on display, but instead of letting it get to her and breaking her apart, she is liberated by the entire show and feels free to be who she is, with confidence, and so removes her coat and her wig, feeling sexually liberated.

This music video is everything I wanted it to be and more. The song is about a straight relationship where the man cheats on the wife and the music video is not just fitting, but explodes the meaning of the song and creates this awesome concept that makes me want to watch it again and again, constantly wishing it was longer, as this is something I never want to end, yet Sam Smith ends it with a fan saying "fin" - the French word for "end".

The cast includes dancers Daniel Allwell, Aleshia Williams, Emily Haygarth, BABY, Jordan Boury, Megan Charles, Novaya Shey, Samuel Mena Garcia, Pfion Vince, J’Adore La Vie, and Sakeema. There's also a lot of featured cast, including Yuri Park, Nancy Violet, Jolene, Brett Tatham, Louise Gibb, Nicholas Tredrea, Kitt Ibbott, William Darby, Lulu Kapansa, Armando, Fern G, Ego Valentino, Treasure Iyamu, Daragh Mccann, Lewis Walker, Jamie, Paddy O’Brian, Amani Hussain, Miriam Veil, and Max The Tribrid.