Best Albums of 2015: ‘Star Wars’ by Wilco (No. 10)

Photo by Zoran Orlic.

Photo by Zoran Orlic.

Rather than merely post a list of my 10 favorite albums of 2015, I’m going to draw it out and count them down between now and — well lookit the calendar! — Christmas. Because why not? No. 10 is Wilco’s latest, “Star Wars,” which the band released unexpectedly and for free (initially, at least) in July.

Though it’s is the band’s first album of new material since “The Whole Love” in 2011, nothing about “Star Wars” feels belabored or overthought. It’s almost as if the musicians got together one weekend in the band’s Chicago studio and bashed out these 11 songs just for the hell of it. From the jarring discord of opener “Ekg” through the serrated, super-catchy guitars of “Random Name Generator,” the swagger of “King of You” to the subtle textures and melancholy vocals that bloom into something rather different midway through “Where Do I Begin,” “Star Wars” is a fast, forceful tour of everything that Wilco does so well.

Sure, it seems like a bit of a tease to name your new album after a movie franchise making its imminent, massively anticipated return, but maybe that’s a sign that Wilco knows search engine optimization, too.

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