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
05. The Apologist
06. The Sad Professor
07. Walk Unafraid
09. Falls to Climb
10. At My Most Beautiful
No, really, try this sequence. It’s great.