My Top 1000 Songs #337: Smile
I'm guessing long-time fans of the Jayhawks may blanch at this pick, presumably more wedded to the band's earlier, more rootsy Americana. By the time of 2000's Smile, the band moved in a more baroque pop direction, best exemplified by the album's title track. But as someone who was similarly excited by Wilco's abandonment of their countrified roots on the prior year's Summerteeth, I was just fine with the pivot, relishing the growing sophistication of the songs from a songwriting and aesthetic standpoint.
The song makes for a lovely mid-tempo ballad, pretty and full of harmonies and lush orchestration. It's mere coincidence that I post this a day after the Moody Blues, but there are some surprising similarities between the songs despite the bands' radically different histories. I suppose some may find the production too polished, or the "smile when you're down & out" sentimentality a little earnest. But for me, it's the best mid-70s Fleetwood Mac song of the early 00s, and I'm willing to set cynicism aside and just sing along, letting the big, dense sound wash over me.Live 2016: