Blogger Najm Al-Deen says Sam Smith’s new Grammy-award single “Unholy” is a tribute to Satan which represents the West’s war on humanity’s tried and tested moral anchors.
Recently, the music industry became the latest saga in the West’s never-ending culture wars, after a controversial Grammy performance by the English singer and songwriter Sam Smith and duet partner Kim Petras.
While Smith and Petras snagged the award for the best pop duo, it was the racy rendition of their award-winning single “Unholy” which sparked outrage amongst America’s political right and conservative Christian communities.
The performance, which was sponsored by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, is a celebration of queer joy, glamoursing a father’s adulterous liaison with a prostitute.
It also endorses the luxury fashion label Balenciaga which recently provoked a storm for two diabolical advertising campaigns – one of which featured children clutching teddy bears in bondage gear and another showing a handbag perched on a pile of documents which allegedly referenced a legal case about child pornography.
Smith, who identifies by the gender neutral pronouns of they/them, took the stage which was lit up with pyrotechnics and flames donning a red latex devil-inspired costume and top hat with devil horns. Meanwhile, Petras wore a matching outfit whilst writhing in a cage, as dancers holding whips performed a creepy routine in front of fire.
While David Harris – a leading cardinal of the Church of Satan – expressed his nonchalance with their Satanic-themed performance, the duet invited opprobrium from Republican Senator Ted Cruz, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green, right-wing commentator Matt Walsh and millions of others who watched in horror and slammed the collaboration for what looked like a tribute to Satan.
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Popular music and the occult
The imagery evoked at last week’s Grammys is somewhat passe, seeing as Satanism has for years been associated with heavy rock and metal artists, many of whom were infamous for onstage rituals and occult practices.
Godsmack’s frontman Sully Erna was a follower of the Wicca faith and incorporated many of its symbols and ceremonies into the group’s single ‘Voodoo.’
Led Zeppelin’s guitarist Jimmy Page developed an obsession with the works of Aleister Crowley, one of the most famous occultist writers of all time, adopting his catchphrases and esoteric imagery in album covers and performances.
Matt Skiba, the lead singer for Chicago punk purists Alkaline Trio often dabbled in the dark arts and was a member of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan which is reported to have inspired the group’s gothic aesthetic.
From Ozzy Osbourne to Marilyn Manson, harnessing the negative energies of the Prince of Darkness is not an uncommon phenomenon.
Heavy metal aside, in recent years, references to the devil and witchcraft have become more pervasive in pop culture and music videos are far more redolent with Satanic symbolism.
Beyonce’s soft-core shenanigans at concerts and Super Bowl performances are often steeped in occult imagery and more recently, the gay rapper Lil Nas X could be seen seducing the devil with a lap dance before running off with his horns and claiming his mantle in the single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”
But what exactly is Satanism?
Contrary to popular opinion, the majority of Satanists do not worship Satan or engage in human sacrifices and bizarre rituals.
Rather, a central pillar of their worldview is that the supernatural realm including the afterlife is non-existent and that individual sovereignty represents the highest calling of man and absolute pinnacle of freedom.
If anything, Satanism encourages the deification of the self, and perceives the free-floating individual as the ultimate embodiment of reverence. Satan represents an external metaphorical projection of a man’s highest potential and it is the individual who is the centre of the universe and master of destiny who can dictate his own morals and values which are purely subjective constructions with no permanent and defining quality.
Simply, those inducted into the club of Satanism transition from being atheists to ‘I-theists.’
While Smith and Petras may not have the Church of Satan’s stamp of approval, the Luciferian undertones of their recent Grammy performance was a revealing snapshot of a profane culture which has plunged liberal fundamentalists into the thick of a Godless cult.
When “Unholy” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 last October, it made Smith the first openly non-binary solo artist and Petras the first openly transgender solo artist to reach the top of the chart since its inception in 1991. Such a feat not only reinforced the mainstream recognition of “sex positivity” and transgenderism in Western liberal societies, but also shines a spotlight on the intimate relationship between musical trends and popular culture.
We must never underestimate the profound impact, influence and identity shaping power of music. It is often the vernacular through which important cultural values are represented and symbolises the mood and habits predominating in a civilization at any one moment.
Perhaps more than any other art form, it is music that functions as a mirror to the world and an agent for social change. It often reflects our accepted traditions and possesses a unique ability to inspire and inform one’s decisions and articulate shared values and practices that bring people together.
Despite its critics, the combination of transgenderism, Satanism and I-theism is capturing the imagination of millions of unsuspecting souls and being consumed in copious amounts across platforms like TikTok and Spotify. These values are psychologically resonating in societies which have supplanted God for unfettered desire and provide a fascinating, albeit dark insight into the psyche of popular culture which is a summation of our beliefs, conventions, proclivities and customs.
Smith, who has already made a point about turning his back on religion and denouncing the Bible in a previous single, is a household name for a reason. He epitomises who we are and what we stand for. His artistry is not value-neutral. Rather, he is playing an instrumental role in the dissemination of a culture which deems any consensual sexual activity as healthy and pleasurable.
“Unholy” is intrinsically attached to contemporary culture and has an inclusive function in Western society because it unites the secular liberal fabric around norms of acceptable behaviour. In this sense, music is not any ordinary art. When we are blissfully plugged in and carefully curating our playlists, it may just be the most popular language we speak.
Therefore, it is important to interpret the duo’s performance at the Grammys as a vehicle for cultural transmission and a bridge into the hearts and minds of those who laud personal autonomy as the ultimate arbiter of human decisions.
Like technology and fashion, music functions not only as a creative freedom but also as a time capsule. Smith’s foray into Satanism is indicative of the times and will help to eternalise aspects of Western tradition that might otherwise be forgotten, reminding present and future generations of the shared values, history, culture and subcultures pulling at our heartstrings and decoded into the music pieces.
Refuge in God
In light of the latest tribute to Satanism in the music industry, Muslim parents in particular must recognise that their children are now in the throes of a pathological sexual revolution and that the cultural trends emerging across the Anglo sphere represent more than just moral disintegration. Rather, these trends are a declaration of war against our fitrah (disposition) and have the backing of several stakeholders including governments, corporations and billionaire philanthropists.
A concerted effort is underway to deconstruct organised religion and appropriate time-honoured religious values to align them with a progressive woke rights agenda. Much like the New Left and cultural forces in the 1960s which lauded abortion and decoupled sex from marriage and reproduction, Smith and Petras are just the latest ambassadors of an ideology which threatens to redefine the gender paradigm, destabilise the nuclear family and dismantle the bedrock of God-given natural life forms.
Forming a conception of personhood based on subjective self-identification is testament to modern Western civilisation’s rebellion against Allah. It begs a serious question: How long before the “optional human” follows the “optional gender,” thus opening the floodgates for transhumanism?
As we charge headlong into this new age, the God-conscious remain the final bastion of morality and a spiritual bulwark against the unholy trinity of individualism, moral relativism and gender fluidity which is detaching humanity from its moral anchors.