I’ve been listening to this song repeatedly today as a reference for the first song on the new record, which I’m working on this week.

In an alternate universe, “Why Not Smile,” is the opening track of REM’s Up, and it’s a wonderful way to set things in motion. I love the way that the track unfolds slowly, building in layers over the course of a quick 3 minutes.

Many diehard REM fans loathe this album; I think it’s flawed in some serious ways, but the good tracks are stunners. I also created my own sequence for this record, which is really the only way I listen to it:

01. Why Not Smile

02. Daysleeper

03. Hope

04. Suspicion

05. The Apologist

06. The Sad Professor

07. Walk Unafraid

08. Airportman

09. Falls to Climb

10. At My Most Beautiful

No, really, try this sequence. It’s great.