Let’s start with the obvious: Wilco’s lyrics can be weird. Cryptic, even.

But I find them endlessly intriguing. They remind me of something Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote:

Nobody … ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed. Their highest merit is suggestiveness.

I don’t think Jeff Tweedy’s lyrics are arbitrary or empty. The more time I spend with his writing, the more I sense themes emerging. Sometimes I’ll find exciting implications on the first listen; sometimes a possibility ambushes me long after I’ve given up trying. The joy is in the uncertainty.

I’m thinking about this as I listen to “The Joke Explained,” the third track on Wilco’s new album Star Wars. I’ve been playing this record a lot, and I’m willing to bet that by the end of 2015, this will be the only Star Wars that I find supremely satisfying — full of immediately exciting sounds and intriguingly suggestive details that keep me coming back for more.

[This is only the beginning. Read the full exploration of Wilco’s wildly imaginative Star Wars in my latest “Listening Closer” column here.]