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Album Review: Years to Burn by Calexico and Iron & Wine

 Years to Burn is a collaboration album between Calexico and Iron & Wine. Calexico is an indie rock band based out of Tucson, Arizona and Iron & Wine, or Sam Beam, is a singer and songwriter based out of North Carolina. The album is only 8 songs long, but it is packed with a lot to offer.

The firs track off of the record is What Heaven's Left. The track slowly builds up from the beginning, starting with a few guitars and string instruments. For the last minute and a half of the track, you have trumpets taking turns improvising. The song talks about this girl or lover he is with. No matter what point he is at in life, she will always be there for him and believes in him.

The next song and second single from their album is Midnight Sun. There is a strong country influence on this track, especially since this album was recorded in Tennessee. However, there is a great guitar solo after the third verse. The song is talking about this woman who appeared and she had a guillotine smile. Since a guillotine is an ancient machine used to decapitate people, that could mean she had an evil or sinister smile. Also, it says that the man turned to stone. In Greek mythology, Medusa was a gorgon that could turn people to stone that looked directly into her eyes. This could mean that this woman was bad for this guy and she ruined his life.

The first single off the album and my personal favorite track is Father Mountain. This song is talking about this girl named Teresa. In the chorus of the song, they say "Chandelier light ain't love, it just watches the time go." This could mean that these two people, Teresa and the guy she is with actually aren't in love. They think they love each other, but it's not all that it is meant out to be.

Outside El Paso is about a two minute instrumental in the middle of the album. They try to make this track sound like something you would hear from an old western film. There are several different percussive instruments used throughout the song, a piano, and a trumpet that makes some quick sounds here and there.

After the short interlude track, we come to Follow the Water. In this track, they compare love to riding a rollercoaster. Two people go into the relationship together. There will be ups and downs, good times and hard times, but sometimes the relationship will come to an end. No matter what happened in the relationship, there will be scars when the relationship ends, and they will always be there. However, when the relationship ended, he found these friends of his who were able to help him out of this rut in his life.

The next track on the album is The Bitter Suite (Pájaro / Evil Eye / Tennessee Train). Is music terms, a suite is a collection of short songs that are combined together. The song title could also be a play on the word, "bittersweet" since the last spoken words on the track are "Life is bittersweet." The first part, Pájaro is a Spanish song that translates to Bird. There is definitely a Latin influence on this first song. Evil Eye changes it up a bit with the guitar chord change and several other different instruments. Evil Eye is just a three minute "instrumental" with soft hums and "do do do" throughout the song. The third part is Tennessee Train, and it goes back to the soft acoustic guitar sounds.

Next, we have the title track, Years to Burn. The title track could mean anything, such as they have all the time in their life so they can do anything for the rest of their life. However, it could also mean that they are facing hardships in their life, since 'burn' could reference 'hurt' or 'pain'. He also ends on the note, "Our tears hold the light in our eyes."

The closing track is In Your Own Time. In the chorus of the song, it talks about how everyone wants to live a great and fulfilling life. It mentions that sleeping isn't living a fulfilling life, which could refer to wanting to be with someone that is exciting and adventurous.

If you enjoyed the album, consider buying it digitally or on vinyl!

Overall Rating: 8/10
Favorite Tracks: Father Mountain, In Your Own Time


  1. I've never heard of this artist before but having listened to a few tracks I can say that I'll be listening to them alot more!

  2. Honest review of this album. Can’t listen to the songs at the moment being that the family is sleeping but you’ve peaked my interest and I’ll be giving these tracks a proper listen soon. Thanks for the entertainment.

  3. Great review. Never heard of this group but you've definitely peaked my interest!


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