From the start of the music video for “Unholy,” the chart-topping collaboration from Sam Smith and Kim Petras, it seems for a moment that chivalry may not be dead, after all. A loving husband opens the car door for his wife and even hands off his jacket to her when he notices her shivering. But as she heads inside to wind down for the night, her beau heads off to The Body Shop, the club cabaret where chivalry goes to die.
“Mummy don’t know daddy’s getting hot / At the body shop / Doing something unholy,” Smith and Petras tease. “He’s sat back while she’s dropping it / She be popping it / Yeah, she put it down slowly.”
Directed by Floria Sigismondi and choreographed by French dance collective (LA)HORDE, “Unholy” stars Smith as a singing MC and Petras as a lustful dancer wielding sexual power with ease and confidence.
When the song’s subject sneaks away from his wife for a night at the club, hidden under the guise of an actual auto body shop, he finds that the performance for the night is eerily reflecting his secret guilty pleasures back to him in a not-so-secret manner.
“Dirty, dirty boy, you know everyone is talking on the scene / I hear them whispering ‘bout the places that you been / And how you don’t know how to keep your business clean,” Smith teases over pulsing production that skitters with the tense anxiety of someone who’s been caught red handed.
By the end of the visual, the man ends up on the hood of a car on stage, laying upside down with the word “cheater” spray painted beneath him. As the crowd parts, his wife walks down the runway and joins the ensemble as the curtains close.
The lead single from Smith’s fourth studio album, “Unholy” recently debuted at No. 1 on the UK Official Singles Chart. It marks their eighth song to top the chart. The single hit No. 1 worldwide on Apple Music and Spotify, where it also ranked among the Top 10 debuts of all time within the first 24 hours of release.
“I’ve never had so much fun making a record,” Smith shared in a statement. “It was so cathartic and freeing to experiment like this and throw out the rule book.”