Following the high of her new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, and performances with Norah Jones, Sharon Van Etten took to the SiriusXM studio to cover Sinéad O’Connor’s “Black Boys on Mopeds.” The heartbreaking song depicts the story of Colin Roach, a 21-year-old black man who died a police stationin London in 1983. Though it was later ruled as a suicide, many believe that this narrative was a cover-up for a police officer that shot and killed him. Despite the tragedy taking place so long ago, O’Connors wrote the song as both a testament to Roach and as a statement that this type of occurance could still happen today.
O’Connors has previously opened up about her personal struggle with depression, a theme that Van Etten has explored in some of her work as well. Van Etten covers “Black Boys on Mopeds” with a soulfulness and pain that truly encapsulate the essense of the song. Her lyrical talents, accompanied solely by an acoustic melody, brings a realness to the lyrics as she sings “England’s not the mythical land of Madame George and roses; it’s the home of police who kill black boys on mopeds.”
Photo Credit: Kalyn Oyer