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Exam Code: PSAT-RW Preliminary SAT - National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (Reading-Writing) benefits January 2024 by Killexams.com team

PSAT-RW Preliminary SAT - National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (Reading-Writing)

Exam Details:
- Number of Questions: The PSAT-RW exam consists of two main sections: Reading and Writing and Language. The specific number of questions may vary, but typically, the Reading section includes about 47 questions, and the Writing and Language section includes about 44 questions.

- Time: Candidates are given a total of 60 minutes for the Reading section and 35 minutes for the Writing and Language section, resulting in a total testing time of 95 minutes.

Course Outline:
The PSAT-RW exam is designed to assess the candidate's reading comprehension and writing skills. The exam measures the candidate's ability to analyze and understand written passages, interpret information, and apply grammar and language conventions. The course outline may include the following key areas:

1. Reading Section:
- Reading comprehension of fiction and non-fiction passages
- Analyzing main ideas and supporting details
- Identifying author's purpose, tone, and perspective
- Drawing inferences and making conclusions
- Understanding vocabulary in context

2. Writing and Language Section:
- Grammar and usage
- Sentence structure and organization
- Punctuation and mechanics
- Effective word choice and style
- Editing and revising written passages

Exam Objectives:
The objectives of the PSAT-RW exam typically include:
- Evaluating the candidate's reading comprehension skills, including the ability to understand and analyze written passages across different genres.
- Assessing the candidate's writing skills, including grammar, usage, and mechanics, to ensure effective communication.
- Measuring the candidate's ability to interpret and evaluate information presented in written form.
- Identifying candidates who may be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Exam Syllabus:
The specific exam syllabus for the PSAT-RW exam may include the following topics:

1. Reading Section:
- Reading comprehension of literary and informational passages
- Analyzing main ideas and supporting details
- Understanding vocabulary in context
- Identifying author's purpose and tone
- Drawing inferences and making conclusions

2. Writing and Language Section:
- Grammar and usage rules (subject-verb agreement, verb tenses, pronoun usage, modifiers)
- Sentence structure and organization (sentence variety, parallelism, transitions)
- Punctuation and mechanics (commas, semicolons, apostrophes, capitalization)
- Effective word choice and style
- Editing and revising written passages
Preliminary SAT - National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (Reading-Writing)
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PSAT Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
PSAT-RW Preliminary SAT - National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (Reading-Writing)

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Question: 246
If Jessica only spent 20% instead of the 25% allotment for food in May of 2001, how much
did she save?
A. $131.10
B. $144.30
C. $148.32
D. $152.22
E. $153.33
Answer: A
Question: 247
Jonathan can type a 20 page document in 40 minutes, Susan can type it in 30 minutes, and
Jack can type it in 24 minutes. Working together, how much time will it take them to type
the same document?
A. 5 minutes
B. 10 minutes
C. 15 minutes
D. 18 minutes
E. 20 minutes
Answer: B
Question: 248
John is traveling to a meeting that is 28 miles away. He needs to be there in 30 minutes.
How fast does he need to go to make it to the meeting on time?
A. 25 mph
B. 37 mph
C. 41 mph
D. 49 mph
E. 56 mph
Answer: E
Question: 249
If Steven can mix 20 drinks in 5 minutes, Sue can mix 20 drinks in 10 minutes, and Jack
can mix 20 drinks in 15 minutes, how much time will it take all 3 of them working together
to mix the 20 drinks?
A. 2 minutes and 44 seconds
B. 2 minutes and 58 seconds
C. 3 minutes and 10 seconds
D. 3 minutes and 26 seconds
E. 4 minutes and 15 seconds
Answer: A
Question: 250
If Sam can do a job in 4 days that Lisa can do in 6 days and Tom can do in 2 days, how
long would the job take if Sam, Lisa, and Tom worked together to complete it?
A. 0.8 days
B. 1.09 days
C. 1.23 days
D. 1.65 days
E. 1.97 days
Answer: B
Question: 251
Jim has 5 pieces of string. He needs to choose the piece that will be able to go around his
36-inch waist. His belt broke, and his pants are falling down. The piece needs to be at least
4 inches longer than his waist so he can tie a knot in it, but it cannot be more that 6 inches
longer so that the ends will not show from under his shirt. Which of the following pieces of
string will work the best?
A. 3 feet
B. 3.feet
C. 3.feet
D. 3.feet
E. 2.feet
Answer: C
Question: 252
The last week of a month a car dealership sold 12 cars. A new sales promotion came out
the first week of the next month and the sold 19 cars that week. What was the percent
increase in sales from the last week of the previous month compared to the first week of the
next month?
A. 58%
B. 119%
C. 158%
D. 175%
E. 200%
Answer: A
Question: 253
If two planes leave the same airport at 1:00 PM, how many miles apart will they be at 3:00
PM if one travels directly north at 150 mph and the other travels directly west at 200 mph?
A. 50 miles
B. 100 miles
C. 500 miles
D. 700 miles
E. 1,000 miles
Answer: C
Question: 254
During a 5-day festival, the number of visitors tripled each day. If the festival opened on a
Thursday with 345 visitors, what was the attendance on that Sunday?
A. 345
B. 1,035
C. 1,725
D. 3,105
E. 9,315
Answer: E
Question: 255
What is the absolute value of -9?
A. -9
B. 9
C. 0
D. -1
E. 1
Answer: B
Question: 256
What is the median of the following list of numbers? 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12
A. 6
B. 7.5
C. 7.8
D. 8
E. 9
Answer: D
Question: 257
What is the mathematical average of the number of weeks in a year, seasons in a year, and
the number of days in January?
A. 36
B. 33
C. 32
D. 31
E. 29
Answer: E
Question: 258
In a college, some courses contribute more towards an overall GPA than other courses. For
example, a science class is worth 4 points; mathematics is worth 3 points; history is worth 2
points; and English is worth 3 points. The values of the grade letters are as follows, A= 4,
B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0. What is the GPA of a student who made a "C" in Trigonometry, a
"B" in American History, an "A" in Botany, and a "B" in Microbiology?
A. 2.59
B. 2.86
C. 3.08
D. 3.33
E. 3.67
Answer: C
Question: 259
Over the course of a week, Fred spent $28.49 on lunch. What was the average cost per day?
A. $4.07
B. $3.57
C. $6.51
D. $2.93
E. $5.41
Answer: A
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SAT (Reading-Writing) benefits - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/PSAT-RW Search results SAT (Reading-Writing) benefits - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/PSAT-RW https://killexams.com/exam_list/SAT Studying a Foreign Language Can Help on ACT, SAT No result found, try new keyword!There are high-frequency vocabulary words you can study before the ACT or SAT to improve your reading comprehension and, if applicable, essay-writing ... the cognitive benefits of foreign language ... Sun, 04 Jul 2021 21:00:00 -0500 https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-playbook/articles/how-studying-a-foreign-language-can-help-on-the-act-sat 4 Reasons Your PSAT Scores Matter No result found, try new keyword!Perhaps one of the most tangible benefits of the PSAT is ... 15 minutes shorter than the SAT – and consists of three tests covering reading, writing and language, and math. Tue, 14 Nov 2023 17:30:00 -0600 https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/reasons-your-psat-scores-matter Sats: A third below par in reading, writing and maths

By Katherine SellgrenBBC News education reporter

One out of every three 11-year-olds in England has failed to reach the expected levels in all three core subjects of reading, writing and maths.

The Year 6 national curriculum tests, often known as Sats, were taken earlier this term across England.

Changes to the national curriculum in 2016 resulted in the tests becoming more rigorous.

Unions said test-driven primary assessments were damaging children's mental health and wellbeing.

The proportion of pupils reaching the expected level was

  • 65% in reading, writing and maths combined, up from 64% in 2018
  • 78% grammar, spelling and punctuation, unchanged from 2018
  • 79% in maths, up from 75%
  • 73% in reading, down from 75%
  • 78% in writing - unchanged

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: "These results show the majority of pupils are leaving primary school ready to deal with the challenges of secondary school.

"The pupils who performed well in these tests will have demonstrated sophisticated grammatical skills like using the subjunctive, the ability to divide fractions and mastery of complex spellings.

"It's testament to the hard work and dedication of teachers that we have seen results rising over time despite the bar of expectation having been raised."

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: "Over a third of 11-year-olds will arrive in their new secondary school in September knowing that they have been labelled as 'below the expected standard'.

"This demoralising outcome is the result of policy-makers' delusion that to measure the performance of our primary school system it is necessary to test each individual pupil.

"Test-driven primary assessment is damaging children's mental health and wellbeing.

"It intensifies the stress on teachers.

"Preparing children for Sats squeezes out other parts of the curriculum."

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said the results did not reflect "the full picture of the child's strengths, their talents, or indeed their progress during primary school".

"Sats results and league tables provide nothing more than a snapshot of how children performed on a particular day, in a few short tests, in a limited number of subjects.

"We should therefore avoid celebrating too loudly or berating too strongly schools that rise or fall in their league table position as a result.

"NAHT has long campaigned for less national testing overall in primary schools.

"In reality, Sats tell teachers and parents little that they don't already know about their child or school but have the negative unintended consequences of distracting from teaching and learning and narrowing the focus of the curriculum."

Tiffnie Harris, primary specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said the results showed schools were "doing an exceptional job despite the funding pressures".

"The government cannot continue to take educational standards for granted however and must improve the level of funding as a matter of urgency," she added.

In April, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party would scrap formal tests in primary schools in England if it came into power.



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Tue, 09 Jul 2019 00:52:00 -0500 text/html https://www.bbc.com/news/education-48922905 Is cursive coming back in Connecticut schools? Research suggests a host of benefits No result found, try new keyword!Cursive is having a moment in Connecticut with a new law that adds cursive writing to the state’s model kindergarten through eighth-grade curriculum. Sat, 23 Dec 2023 21:00:00 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/ The bliss — and benefits — of slow reading

Unlock the Editor’s Digest for free

A new year often signals a fresh TBR (To Be Read) pile. It brims with good intentions, guilt divided evenly between Christmas gifts begging to be addressed and the books from 2023 you thought you had time to read but didn’t. But — of course — reading shouldn’t be a chore, an endless game of catch-up or a slog powered by a sense that you’re missing out on the best of the year’s crop.

In the wonderful phrase of a friend, perhaps it’s time to set an anti-resolution instead — to settle into a slow classic, and give yourself the gift of unrushed reading. Spending time in the pages of just one book for months, sometimes years, is a rarity in our hurried age.

Like many readers, I buy books all the time; it’s hard to linger. Yet I remember the keen satisfaction of a teenage summer spent reading all of Jane Austen’s novels, or of autumn 2023, when I re-read Vikram Seth’s 1,349-page A Suitable Boy (1993), feeling a bittersweet nostalgia for the way India was before it turned towards fierce nationalism.

I admit I steal this idea from the best kind of experts: writers who understand the value of paying attention to the past. Brandon Taylor, the American novelist, spent two years steadily reading Zola. “Took two years, three apartments, 3 (or 4) countries . . . The world spun and I read Zola,” he posted on Instagram a few months ago.

Another author, Yiyun Li, spends six months every year on War and Peace and six months on Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851). “I alternate between the two novels every year, just to keep my life structured by two great books,” she said in a 2021 interview with the online literary magazine The Millions. “It’s sort of like your daily bread, right?”

And in her 2014 bibliomemoir My Life in Middlemarch, the journalist and writer Rebecca Mead explains why she returned to George Eliot’s 1871 masterpiece: “I was growing restless, and I felt ready to turn my deep attention to something that mattered to me.”

Writing in 1925, in the essay “How Should One Read A Book?”, Virginia Woolf urged people to consume a text as if they were writing it: “Begin not by sitting on the bench among the judges but by standing in the dock with the criminal.”

What both Li and Woolf are driving at, I think, is not slowing down for the sake of it. Nor is this a sentimental desire to return to another age, shorn of X and TikTok. Reading more slowly teaches you to sharpen your attention, to go back and reread, to pause and turn to dictionaries or encyclopaedias or biographies when you fumble for understanding.

To Woolf, reading was not a passive or idle act, but one that required readers to “bend our imaginations powerfully”, an “arduous and exhausting” and yet rewarding occupation. Her advice is beautifully contradictory: read books twice, for pleasure but also for depth, she says, but remember also to “skip and saunter” through a book, rather than gritting your teeth and over-reading. What Woolf wants us to reach is “the greater intensity and truth of fiction”.

I speed-read often, a hazard of the profession — but with books I love, or which strike some nerve or chord, I almost always go back over a period of days or months. I need that time for the writing to sink in, to reveal itself. My version of Li’s “daily bread” has often been The Mahabharata, the ancient Indian epic, which changes meaning and continues to surprise me every decade.

I promise that if you commit to a classic or a story cycle of your choice — all of Terry Pratchett, for instance, or a spring of Shirley Jackson, or a few daily lines by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish from the 30-plus books of poetry he left us — your relationship with reading itself will change, quieten and deepen.

But a word to the wise: think carefully about your choice of classic, and how much time you actually have on your hands. In 1995, Gerry Fialka, an experimental filmmaker and curator, started a Finnegans Wake reading club at a library in Venice, California. He was in his forties; anywhere from 10 to 30 readers would join, navigating a couple of pages of Joyce’s notoriously opaque novel aloud most months. Last October, they finally reached the last page: “I am passing out. O bitter ending!” Although Fialka is now in his seventies, the group has now gone back to the beginning, he told CBC Radio: “You don’t ever finish it.”

Join our online book group on Facebook at FT Books Café

Sun, 31 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en-GB text/html https://www.ft.com/content/f2c2038d-1721-4357-b031-c1254276f48a
Cal State board officially eliminates SAT/ACT for admissions

CSU’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to eliminate using standardized tests like the SAT and ACT for admission to its 23 campuses.

The 23-campus system — the nation’s largest public university system — became the latest to remove the standardized testing requirement and replace it with a so-called multifactor admission score that allows colleges to consider 21 factors. Those factors include work experience, leadership roles, extracurricular activities and special status such as foster youth, first-generation or military.

As of March 1, more than 1,820 four-year colleges and universities, including the University of California, have eliminated the SAT or ACT from admission requirements, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

Advocates for underrepresented students had argued that the standardized tests discriminated against them.

“This decision aligns with the California State University’s continued efforts to level the playing field and provide greater access to a high-quality college degree for students from all backgrounds,” said Acting Chancellor Steve Relyea. “In essence, we are eliminating our reliance on a high-stress, high-stakes test that has shown negligible benefit and providing our applicants with greater opportunities to demonstrate their drive, talents and potential for college success.”


Tue, 22 Mar 2022 05:01:00 -0500 en text/html https://edsource.org/updates/cal-state-board-officially-eliminates-sat-act-from-admission
Reading & Writing Center

The Reading and Writing Center (aka The Writing Center) is where students can receive one-on-one assistance with their reading, writing, and research processes. This includes citation and evidence use, as well as, revising and editing their own work.

While our tutors can't guarantee a good grade on a paper, tell you what to write or solve all your problems in one session, tutors can help you learn to be a better reader, writer, researcher, editor, and to brainstorm ideas for your paper.

We will provide feedback on many important concerns, including:

  • Organization
  • Clarity
  • Development
  • How well you respond to the prompt
  • How you cite your work

English 121

English 121 is a 1-unit supplemental instruction course that students can enroll in for the semester. In this course, students choose a day and time to meet with their tutor to work on their reading, writing, and research assignments. Topics could include understanding assignments, prewriting, revising, reading strategies, editing strategies, integrating research, and using citations, etc. Students must sign up for a an in-person or synchronous tutoring session time during the first two weeks of the semester at the University Reading & Writing Center before enrolling in English 121. Once students set up their English 121 appointment with a GAC, they will receive the course code to enroll in English 121. To receive the 1-unit credit, students must attend their weekly 55-minute tutoring session regularly and are required to make up any missed appointments. English 121 is delivered in-person and synchronously.

How to Enroll in English 121, beginning the first day of each semester:

  • Email wc@csus.edu, and provide your name, your student ID number, and a list of times you are available to meet online. Include your interest to enroll in English 121 and the kinds of reading and/or writing assistance you are interested in receiving. You may also come to the Writing Center to enroll.
How to Access Your Virtual Tutor
  • Once your virtual tutoring request has been processed and you have been paired with your tutor, you will receive access to the Reading and Writing Canvas course. Access the Canvas course, look for your tutor's name and access their page. Virtual tutors use Google Docs to conduct the tutor session, so be prepared to share your written work using Google Docs.

Our Services

The Reading & Writing Center offers in-person and drop-in tutoring services, as well as virtual (synchronous) tutoring and asynchronous (email) feedback.

  • 25 and 55-minute one-on-one in-person and remote synchronous tutoring (via Zoom)
  • 25 and 55-minute one-on-one in-person and remote synchronous drop-in tutoring
  • Email (asynchronous) feedback with a 48-hr turnaround via email.

We will begin scheduling tutoring appointments on September 1, for Fall 2022. Please email: wc@csus.edu Tutoring appointments and asynchronous appointments will be scheduled through email at this time.

Scheduling In-Person, Synchronous Tutoring, Drop-In Tutoring, and Email Feedback

If you want a tutoring appointment, please visit the Writing Center in Calaveras Hall 128 or email us at wc@csus.edu. Please provide your preference for in-person, synchronous, drop-in tutoring, or email feedback, and include your name, student ID number, and a list of times you are available to meet with a tutor in your email request.

We encourage you to give us a try – our goal is to help you become a better writer!

Please note: We can’t fix or proofread entire papers. We will add a note if we see recurring grammar issues, but we recommend that you always read your paper out loud to yourself to improve grammar and clarity!

Become a Tutor

Students who complete ENGL195A/410A, the Writing Center internship course, are eligible to work as paid tutors the following semester.

The prerequisite for ENGL195A/410A is a grade of "B" or better in either ENGL20 or ENGL120 or a Writing Intensive course.

Sat, 13 Jul 2019 21:07:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.csus.edu/undergraduate-studies/writing-program/reading-writing-center.html
Louise Glück Taught Poetry So She Could Write Poetry

To say that Sinead O’Connor never quite regained the musical heights of her 1987 debut album, “The Lion and the Cobra,” is not to slight the rest of her output, which contained jewels. There is no getting back to a record like that first one. It was in some sense literally scary: The label had to change the original cover art, which showed a bald O’Connor hissing like a banshee cat, for the American release. In the version we saw, she looks down, arms crossed, mouth closed, vulnerable. The music had both sides of her in it.

A fuzziness has tended to hang over the question of who produced “The Lion and the Cobra.” The process involved some drama. O’Connor clashed with the label and dropped her first producer, Mick Glossop, highly respected and the person the label wanted. In the end, she produced the album largely by herself. But not entirely. There was a co-producer, an Irish engineer named Kevin Moloney, who worked on the first five U2 albums and Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love.” He and O’Connor went to school at the same time in the Glenageary neighborhood of Dublin, where he attended an all-boys Catholic academy next to her all-girls Catholic school. But Moloney didn’t know O’Connor then, though they took the same bus.

In Asheville, N.C., this fall, Moloney sat in the control room of Citizen Studios, where he is the house producer, and hit play on “The Lion and the Cobra.” The first song is a ghost story called “Jackie.” A woman sings of her lover, who has failed to return from a fishing expedition. You’re on deep Irish literary sod, the western coast and the islands. It’s the lament of Maurya in J.M. Synge’s play “Riders to the Sea,” grieving for all the men the ocean has taken from her, except that the creature singing through O’Connor will not accept death. “He’ll be back sometime,” she assures the men who deliver the news, “laughing at you.” At the end, her falsetto howls above the feedback. She starts the song as a plaintive young widow and ends it as a demon. “Gets the old hairs going up,” Moloney said.

“Where did she get that?” I asked. “Those different registers?”

“It was all in her head,” he said. “She had these personas.”

And the words? Were they from an obscure Irish shanty she found in an old newspaper? “Oh, no, she wrote it herself,” Moloney said. “Her lyrics were older than she was.”

Moloney’s connection with O’Connor came through U2’s guitarist, the Edge (David Evans). In late 1985, the band was between albums, so Evans did a solo project, scoring a film. He recruited O’Connor — who had just been signed to the English label Ensign Records — to sing on one tune, and Moloney engineered the session. O’Connor was 18, with short dark hair.

Ensign put her together with Glossop, who had just co-produced the Waterboys’ classic album “This Is the Sea.” But she spurned the results: “Too pretty.” Glossop remembered O’Connor as reluctant to speak her mind in the studio, leading to a situation where small differences of opinion weren’t being addressed, leaving her alienated from the material. With characteristic careerist diplomacy, she called Glossop a “[expletive] ol’ hippie” (and derided U2, who possessed some claim to having discovered her, as fake rebels making “bombastic” music). Glossop recalled that when he ran into her at a club a couple of years later, she hugged him and apologized — “which was a nice gesture,” he told me.

Nobody has ever heard those first, abandoned tracks from “The Lion and the Cobra.” “They put a big sound, a band sound around her,” Moloney said, “and she was disappearing in it.” Glossop remembered it slightly differently. “She had a rapport with her band,” he said, “and I recorded them as a band. But she was turning into a solo artist.”

She was also pregnant, unbeknownst to Glossop (“It would have been nice to know,” he said). The father was the drummer in the band, John Reynolds, whom she had known for a month when they conceived. According to O’Connor’s autobiography, “Rememberings,” the label pressured her to have an abortion, sending her to a doctor who lectured her on how much money the company had invested in her.

O’Connor not only insisted on keeping the baby; she also told the label that if it forced her to put out its version of the record, she would walk. “They eventually caved,” Moloney said. “They told her, ‘Make it your way.’” But with a “limited budget.”

That’s when she reached out to Moloney, in the spring of 1986, saying she needed someone she trusted. He started taking day trips to Oxford, where she was holed up in a rental house. “We were in the living room,” Moloney said. “A bunch of couches and a bunch of underpaid, underloved musicians who were struggling big time.”

“There was a bit of a little communal hub,” he said, “always a few joints going around the room. Sinead loved her ganja. A lot of talking, and then somebody would start to play, and people would pick up instruments. And Sinead was, like, captain of the ship.”

When they got into the studio in London, Moloney turned the earlier, band-focused approach inside out like a sock. O’Connor’s voice was allowed to dictate. The musicians worked around it.

For the song “Jackie,” he said, “Sinead wanted to do all of those guitar parts herself. And she wanted to do it really late at night, when everybody else was gone home. She didn’t feel good about her guitar playing. I got her to do this really distorted big sound, and then we layered it and layered it. It became this sort of seething. She was like, ‘Look at me — I’m Jimi Hendrix.’”

The most difficult challenge in recording O’Connor, he said, was finding a microphone that could handle her dynamic range, with those whisper-to-scream effects she was famous for. “Once we figured out the right way of capturing her vocals” — an AKG C12 vintage tube mic — “she did it really fast.”

I must have looked amazed — the vocals are so theatrical and swooping, O’Connor’s pitch so precise, that I had envisioned endless takes — because Moloney said, as if to settle doubts, “Within a couple of takes, it was done.”

The jangly guitar opening of the third track, “Jerusalem,” played. “I remember hearing her play this for the first time,” Moloney said. “I got it, knowing her background.” O’Connor was abused — psychologically, physically, sexually — by her mother, who died in a car accident, and by the Catholic Church. “All the systems had failed her,” Moloney said, “that were supposed to protect her.”

If he was right that he heard trauma in “Jerusalem,” the song lyrics also drip with erotic angst (“I hope you do/what you said/when you swore”). It introduces the record’s main preoccupation: love and sex as they intersect with power and pain.

The streams cross with greatest emotional force in the song “Troy,” one of the most beautiful and ambitious pieces of mid-1980s popular music. The track sticks out production-wise, with a powerful, surging orchestral arrangement (the product of O’Connor’s collaboration with the musician Michael Clowes, who also played keyboards on the album).

There’s a moment in the song when O’Connor repeats the line, “You should’ve left the light on.” I had never given undue thought to what it meant. Something about tortured desire: If you had left the light on, I wouldn’t have kissed you. But Moloney said it had a double meaning. When O’Connor was punished as a child and made to sleep outside in the garden shed, her mother would turn off all of the lights in the house. “There wouldn’t be a light on for her,” Moloney said.

O’Connor gave birth to her son, Jake, just weeks after Moloney finished the mixes. She told Glasgow’s Daily Record that although the baby had kicked when she sang in the studio, he slept now when the record came on. “She was so happy,” Moloney said with tears in his eyes. “She said: ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe I went through all of that and I’ve arrived here with a record I love. Also, here’s my baby!’ She had two babies in one year.”

John Jeremiah Sullivan is a contributing writer for the magazine who lives in North Carolina, where he co-founded the nonprofit research collective Third Person Project.

Thu, 21 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/12/22/magazine/louise-gluck-death.html
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William Friedkin Made Car Chases Into Art

To say that Sinead O’Connor never quite regained the musical heights of her 1987 debut album, “The Lion and the Cobra,” is not to slight the rest of her output, which contained jewels. There is no getting back to a record like that first one. It was in some sense literally scary: The label had to change the original cover art, which showed a bald O’Connor hissing like a banshee cat, for the American release. In the version we saw, she looks down, arms crossed, mouth closed, vulnerable. The music had both sides of her in it.

A fuzziness has tended to hang over the question of who produced “The Lion and the Cobra.” The process involved some drama. O’Connor clashed with the label and dropped her first producer, Mick Glossop, highly respected and the person the label wanted. In the end, she produced the album largely by herself. But not entirely. There was a co-producer, an Irish engineer named Kevin Moloney, who worked on the first five U2 albums and Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love.” He and O’Connor went to school at the same time in the Glenageary neighborhood of Dublin, where he attended an all-boys Catholic academy next to her all-girls Catholic school. But Moloney didn’t know O’Connor then, though they took the same bus.

In Asheville, N.C., this fall, Moloney sat in the control room of Citizen Studios, where he is the house producer, and hit play on “The Lion and the Cobra.” The first song is a ghost story called “Jackie.” A woman sings of her lover, who has failed to return from a fishing expedition. You’re on deep Irish literary sod, the western coast and the islands. It’s the lament of Maurya in J.M. Synge’s play “Riders to the Sea,” grieving for all the men the ocean has taken from her, except that the creature singing through O’Connor will not accept death. “He’ll be back sometime,” she assures the men who deliver the news, “laughing at you.” At the end, her falsetto howls above the feedback. She starts the song as a plaintive young widow and ends it as a demon. “Gets the old hairs going up,” Moloney said.

“Where did she get that?” I asked. “Those different registers?”

“It was all in her head,” he said. “She had these personas.”

And the words? Were they from an obscure Irish shanty she found in an old newspaper? “Oh, no, she wrote it herself,” Moloney said. “Her lyrics were older than she was.”

Moloney’s connection with O’Connor came through U2’s guitarist, the Edge (David Evans). In late 1985, the band was between albums, so Evans did a solo project, scoring a film. He recruited O’Connor — who had just been signed to the English label Ensign Records — to sing on one tune, and Moloney engineered the session. O’Connor was 18, with short dark hair.

Ensign put her together with Glossop, who had just co-produced the Waterboys’ classic album “This Is the Sea.” But she spurned the results: “Too pretty.” Glossop remembered O’Connor as reluctant to speak her mind in the studio, leading to a situation where small differences of opinion weren’t being addressed, leaving her alienated from the material. With characteristic careerist diplomacy, she called Glossop a “[expletive] ol’ hippie” (and derided U2, who possessed some claim to having discovered her, as fake rebels making “bombastic” music). Glossop recalled that when he ran into her at a club a couple of years later, she hugged him and apologized — “which was a nice gesture,” he told me.

Nobody has ever heard those first, abandoned tracks from “The Lion and the Cobra.” “They put a big sound, a band sound around her,” Moloney said, “and she was disappearing in it.” Glossop remembered it slightly differently. “She had a rapport with her band,” he said, “and I recorded them as a band. But she was turning into a solo artist.”

She was also pregnant, unbeknownst to Glossop (“It would have been nice to know,” he said). The father was the drummer in the band, John Reynolds, whom she had known for a month when they conceived. According to O’Connor’s autobiography, “Rememberings,” the label pressured her to have an abortion, sending her to a doctor who lectured her on how much money the company had invested in her.

O’Connor not only insisted on keeping the baby; she also told the label that if it forced her to put out its version of the record, she would walk. “They eventually caved,” Moloney said. “They told her, ‘Make it your way.’” But with a “limited budget.”

That’s when she reached out to Moloney, in the spring of 1986, saying she needed someone she trusted. He started taking day trips to Oxford, where she was holed up in a rental house. “We were in the living room,” Moloney said. “A bunch of couches and a bunch of underpaid, underloved musicians who were struggling big time.”

“There was a bit of a little communal hub,” he said, “always a few joints going around the room. Sinead loved her ganja. A lot of talking, and then somebody would start to play, and people would pick up instruments. And Sinead was, like, captain of the ship.”

When they got into the studio in London, Moloney turned the earlier, band-focused approach inside out like a sock. O’Connor’s voice was allowed to dictate. The musicians worked around it.

For the song “Jackie,” he said, “Sinead wanted to do all of those guitar parts herself. And she wanted to do it really late at night, when everybody else was gone home. She didn’t feel good about her guitar playing. I got her to do this really distorted big sound, and then we layered it and layered it. It became this sort of seething. She was like, ‘Look at me — I’m Jimi Hendrix.’”

The most difficult challenge in recording O’Connor, he said, was finding a microphone that could handle her dynamic range, with those whisper-to-scream effects she was famous for. “Once we figured out the right way of capturing her vocals” — an AKG C12 vintage tube mic — “she did it really fast.”

I must have looked amazed — the vocals are so theatrical and swooping, O’Connor’s pitch so precise, that I had envisioned endless takes — because Moloney said, as if to settle doubts, “Within a couple of takes, it was done.”

The jangly guitar opening of the third track, “Jerusalem,” played. “I remember hearing her play this for the first time,” Moloney said. “I got it, knowing her background.” O’Connor was abused — psychologically, physically, sexually — by her mother, who died in a car accident, and by the Catholic Church. “All the systems had failed her,” Moloney said, “that were supposed to protect her.”

If he was right that he heard trauma in “Jerusalem,” the song lyrics also drip with erotic angst (“I hope you do/what you said/when you swore”). It introduces the record’s main preoccupation: love and sex as they intersect with power and pain.

The streams cross with greatest emotional force in the song “Troy,” one of the most beautiful and ambitious pieces of mid-1980s popular music. The track sticks out production-wise, with a powerful, surging orchestral arrangement (the product of O’Connor’s collaboration with the musician Michael Clowes, who also played keyboards on the album).

There’s a moment in the song when O’Connor repeats the line, “You should’ve left the light on.” I had never given undue thought to what it meant. Something about tortured desire: If you had left the light on, I wouldn’t have kissed you. But Moloney said it had a double meaning. When O’Connor was punished as a child and made to sleep outside in the garden shed, her mother would turn off all of the lights in the house. “There wouldn’t be a light on for her,” Moloney said.

O’Connor gave birth to her son, Jake, just weeks after Moloney finished the mixes. She told Glasgow’s Daily Record that although the baby had kicked when she sang in the studio, he slept now when the record came on. “She was so happy,” Moloney said with tears in his eyes. “She said: ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe I went through all of that and I’ve arrived here with a record I love. Also, here’s my baby!’ She had two babies in one year.”

John Jeremiah Sullivan is a contributing writer for the magazine who lives in North Carolina, where he co-founded the nonprofit research collective Third Person Project.

Thu, 21 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/12/22/magazine/william-friedkin-death.html




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