Oh my goodness, another empowerment anthem in this semi? Who programmed this running order?
But – no pun intended – Sheldon Riley’s empowerment anthem is Not The Same.
While Israel and Malta have created songs that people sing when they’ve accepted themselves, Sheldon Riley’s song is about someone who is still trying to articulate their difference. Riley himself has identified as autistic and queer, and this song captures the feeling of knowing that you’re different and yet not quite being able to articulate it; let alone take pride in it.
Indeed, there is a hugely powerful autism metaphor here, when Riley removes his “mask” to reveal himself, just like autistic people often mask their behaviors to make others feel comfortable. The sight of him shaking and breaking down in tears as he removed his mask, and then managing to pull it together for the rest of the song was truly amazing.
There are a lot of sadboi anthems this year, but Sheldon Riley brings an air of authenticity to his that transcends the simple “lost love” or “boys can have emotions” lyrics of others. And Sheldon has a beautiful voice. He should provide a powerful moment on stage.