Why Not Smile is one of my favorite Post-IRS REM songs. The version on Up starts slowly with harpsichord and fingerpicked acoustic guitar, an intimate setting that helps Stipe relate to a sad listener. The song builds in complexity and tempo as he brings the listener to jubilance.
This version, taken from the Daysleeper EP, remains spare and quiet, and you almost feel as though the singer is asking himself the question. He wants you to be happy, but how can you when you hear the pain in his voice. The harpischord is gone, and the more sustained fingerpicked guitar notes linger. And the organ with the electric guitar...
REM - Why Not Smile (Oxford American Version) (mp3)
Tongue is more playful. This is a pretty straightforward version from the Vancouver Rehearsal Tapes. The electric guitar is huge when it comes in at just over the 2:00 mark.
Tongue (Vancouver Rehearsal Tapes) (mp3)
The Nightswimming EP version of Belong is less jangly and more of a folk song. The always contemplative Stipe has a way of transporting you into a different setting as you listen to REM songs, and you are in the room with a young mother and her child, watching her hopeful, worried eyes as she speaks to the child by the thin pane of glass that both separates them from and connects them to the world.
Belong (Live, Charleston, WV 4-28-91) (mp3)
Even if you have all of REM's albums, don't overlook the EPs and singles. You'll find little treasures on each.