First of all, let me tell you why you’ll love Gustaph’s Because of You.
It is a Grade A certified house music BOP, performed by a man who is singing a love song to his community. It’s a song about found families, about queer joy, about the sanctuary of the dance floor. And it is brimming over with joy. Everyone loves it, and it will bring the arena roof down when it is performed in May.
You can stop reading there if you just want to know why you’ll like the song, because I’m about to go off on a personal tangent about why this song in particular is so good.
A long time ago, around the time that house music was first popular, and antiretrovirals were becoming the standard of HIV care, I moved away from home to a city far away and became an AIDS activist. I’d hang out at the STI clinic, do nighttime distributions of condoms and lube, and eventually got certified as an HIV test counselor. I lived with a rotating series of roommates in an office/apartment where people who were just starting medication or needed to get out of a bad situation would stay for a few weeks or months.
I was young and dumb about everything and yet this group of people, many of whom had had fraught relationships with their real families, just accepted me.
Because of You transports me back to that time, and my specific memories of that time, and the people I knew and loved. It brings up a lot of a emotions – grief, yes, but also the warmth of belonging and acceptance, and most of all, the fun – late night karaoke sessions, cooking mishaps, jokes on the plastic waiting room chairs.
I feel stupid writing about this here on a dumb Eurovision blog, but I’ve heard Gustaph criticized because his song is not anthemic enough. But while anthems are great for stadiums and marches, the real work of belonging happens in the small daily moments, with the people you can be your true self around.
Because of You is a potent reminder of the ways that communities can find joy in the bleakest circumstances. It’s so much more than a dance floor banger, and I love Gustaph for bringing the unconditional love to the Eurovision stage.