Music News

Sam Smith performs on stage at AO Arena on November 11, 2022 in Manchester, England.

Sam Smith’s latest music video has sparked controversy with critics arguing that it is “normalizing pornography” in pop culture. The “raunchy” video for the British singer-songwriter’s new track “I’m Not Here To Make Friends” has led to a debate over whether it should be age-restricted on platforms such as YouTube, due to its supposedly explicit content.

The video, released over the weekend, shows Smith, 30, arriving at a castle via helicopter in a fluffy pink coat. A voiceover says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an ‘Amen’ in here?” Then, Smith can be seen dancing alongside performers wearing corsets, cut-out buttocks and nipple tassels. Fountains of water are also seen being sprayed into the singer’s mouth from the walls. In other scenes, dancers are filmed slowly thrusting on beds wearing leather underwear.

Appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Smith said, “Weirder things have happened in that castle.”

On an episode of ITV’s Good Morning Britain Monday (January 30), journalist Alex Phillips said the music video was “unhealthy” for society, adding that the video equated to “extreme hardcore pornography” in parts. She added, “You have had to edit a lot of that video down to be able to show it on television. The point is that teenagers and young people are the audience who are watching these things and it doesn’t come with a block. They are fully available on YouTube and TikTok. We live in an age now where porn is becoming so normalized. It is in music videos, it is in fast fashion that is being marketed to teens and we also live in an age where we know that people are getting sexually assaulted at school.”

When asked whether she would still have taken issue with the video if it starred Madonna instead of Smith, Phillips added, “Yes, of course. To me, it is not about how Sam Smith dresses or their pronouns. I really don’t care about that. At the peak of the British empire, men were walking around in giant wigs with beauty spots. That doesn’t bother me. It is the overt sexualization, the S&M aspect, it is what would be considered extreme hardcore pornography being symbolically represented in various acts in this video and the audience for that being young people.”

Viewers bashed the music video on social media. One person stated on Twitter: “YouTube does not have any age restrictions on Sam Smiths degrading sexualised new music video. 5 year olds can search this up and watch it with no content restrictions! Sam Smith, this is not art. This is not trendy. This is not empowering. This is monstrous! #SamSmith”

Commenting on Smith’s post, the same user also wrote, “The most grotesque music video I have ever seen Sam I get you are desperate to spark outrage and get views but do you know how many children will see this? You are trying to normalize urinating in someone’s mouth and all the other degrading fetishes your music video features.”

Another person wrote: “This is beyond disgusting. This video is trash. The fact that kids can see it on TV is even worse. Be who you want to be, love who you want to love. I take no issue with that but don’t shove this filth in people’s faces, especially children’s.”

One person claimed, “I thought I accidentally went on a pornsite for a second.” Meanwhile, another wrote, “Depraved and desperate. Children/teens shouldn’t be exposed to this when listening/following an artist whose music they like. You are an absolute disgrace of a man. Pathetic!!” Another wrote, “Take it to Pornhub, and off TV screens; did you collaborate with Balenciaga on this? Strange mixture of pathetic and sick.”

Watch the NSFW music video for “I’m Not Here To Make Friends” below:

Best Pop Songs of 2022, Ranked

2022 has been a great year for pop music, so we made a list of all the best songs that resonated with us. Though there were some amazing albums like The Weeknd’s Dawn FM and Beyonce’s Renaissance, we selected one song from each album to have a wide-ranging list.

Take a look below at our list of the best pop songs to come out in 2022:

  • 16. Bad Habit - Steve Lacy

    Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit” became exceptionally popular with the help of going viral on TikTok. So much so, that concertgoers only knew the hook and Lacy exposed them. Either way, the song is a smash and you should definitely give it a listen in full.

  • 15. Hold Me Closer - Elton John & Britney Spears

    Britney Spears’ major comeback to music post-conservatorship was this collaboration with the legendary Elton John. Using his “Tiny Dancer” as inspiration for the track, the two went hard on this dance hit. We look forward to more music from Britney in the future.

  • 14. Unholy - Kim Petras and Sam Smith

    Kim Petras and Sam Smith made LGBTQ history with the track topping the U.S. charts. Smith, 30, became the first-ever openly non-binary solo artist to achieve the feat, while Petras, also 30, became the first openly transgender solo artist to do so.

  • 13. I Like You (A Happier Song) - Post Malone & Doja Cat

    Add Doja Cat to the Posty Malone mix, and we cannot deny that we like it, we doooooo.

  • 12. Lavender Haze - Taylor Swift

    Taylor Swift has been dominating the music industry lately (as she has for years) with the release of her highly-anticipated Midnights album. What we like about “Lavender Haze” is the electropop feel of the song, which is about the media prodding into her relationship with Joe Alwyn.

  • 11. Obsessed - Calvin Harris ft Charlie Puth & Shenseea

    Calvin Harris’ Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 album is an absolute vibe, featuring the biggest names in music (Pharrell, Halsey, Dua Lipa, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, 21 Savage, Offset). Charlie Puth’s vocal and piano addition to “Obsessed” makes it the standout track of the album, along with Shenseea’s commanding vocals.

  • 10. Coldplay - Lizzo

    Lizzo is known to be light and have fun, but what we really loved on her Special album were her more serious and vulnerable tracks like this one.

  • 9. Anxious - Carly Rae Jepsen

    “Call Me Maybe” was a musical lifetime ago for Jepsen, with “Anxious” being a completely different sound from when the Canadian singer-songwriter first hit the scene. Her pop style has evolved and gave us this ’80s-inspired track.

  • 8. Good Ones - Charli XCX

    The English singer-songwriter gave us an amazing dance pop hit with her lead single “Good Ones” off of her Crash album.

  • 7. Baby Queen - Gorillaz

    Gorillaz have and always will be a band whose music we can’t get enough of. The dreamy “Baby Queen” track is from their upcoming Cracker Island album and has already been making airwaves, featured on FIFA 23’s soundtrack.

  • 6. Lift Me Up - Rihanna

    Rihanna’s return to music after 2016’s Anti came in with a powerful, heartfelt ballad featured on the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack. With her voice shining through with minimal instrumentation, we are able to appreciate her artistry wholly.

  • 5. Die For You - Joji

    You may know Joji from his comedic work as “Pink Guy,” but the Japanese artist’s low-fi R&B songs have been notable since his 2018 debut studio album Ballads 1.

  • 4. Tití Me Preguntó - Bad Bunny

    We may not know what Bad Bunny is saying, but we do know that we love dancing to this dembow song.

  • 3. As It Was - Harry Styles

    Harry’s lead single off of Harry’s House is this addicting synth-pop track that, despite its lonely lyrics, gets us dancing.

  • 2. Sacrifice - The Weeknd

    The Weeknd’s Dawn FM supplied us with amazing music and “Sacrifice” is one of our favorites off the ’80s-influenced album. The song is edgy and haunting, all while being a lively dance hit.

  • 1. THIQUE - Beyonce

    Sure, we love “Break My Soul” off of Beyonce’s Renaissance album, but “THIQUE” makes us feel powerful in our womanhood. The dark trap-infused hip-house beat was produced eight years ago!

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