Destruction by Definition is the first album released by The Suicide Machines. Many of their fans consider this first release to be their greatest. After this album was released in 1996, many people took note of their fresh new sound, an excellent mix of punk, ska, and reggae. The Suicide Machines play more songs from this album at live shows than any other of their three albums combined. It was hard for the Suicide Machines to duplicate the quality and effort of Destruction by Definition. Many fans, myself included, believe they have found their touch again with Steal This Record. Destruction by Definition still remains my personal favorite.

Track Listing:

  1. New Girl
  2. S.O.S.
  3. Break the Glass
  4. No Face
  5. Hey (aka Hey Ska!)
  6. Our Time
  7. Too Much
  8. Islands
  9. The Real You
  10. Face Values
  11. Punk Out
  12. Vans Song
  13. Insecurities
  14. Inside / Outside
  15. Zero
  16. So Long
  17. I Don't Wanna Hear It (Minor Threat cover)

New Girl : New Girl is known by many people not because of how great it is, but because of its presence of the soundtrack of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. This song is one hell of a way to open up an album. It sounds more like ska than most of the songs on the album, and is sung from the point of view of a guy who's telling his ex about his new girl who's not as jealous or snobby.

S.O.S.: This song is my favorite one on the album, and for good reason. The song's tone is more serious than that of the first track, and there is a sense of urgency driving all the instruments. Lead vocalist Jay Navarro busts out some mean scatting around the middle of the song. The song's subject matter is one that is rather common for The Suicide Machines: the shortcomings of the world today with regard to unity and eliminating hatred.

Break the Glass: Right from the get-go, you can tell that this song sounds more poppy than the others on the album. The short chorus lines ("I break the glass, I break it down!") are not unlike those in most pop-punk songs today. This song is particularly easy on the ears and reflects a style that the band would explore later on in their self-titled album. Break the Glass is on the soundtrack of American Werewolf in Paris.

No Face: No Face is sung very quickly. The lyrics in this song are not particularly inspired, and they are short. Though the words aren't as charged with meaning as they are in many other songs on this album, their fast pace and short intervals make up for it. One thing that's particularly impressive about this song is the masterful organ playing by drummer Derek Grant.

Hey: This song is listed simply as "Hey" on the back of the CD cover but is "Hey Ska!" on the liner notes. The second title definitely decribes the song better, because of the ska riffs coming from the guitars and the upbeat and persistent sounds of the horns throughout the song. Like Break the Glass, this song does not have much behind its lyrics -- they just sound good. But they do an excellent job of sounding good. Despite that, this song sounds less like pop and more like the sound the Suicide Machines are known for.

Our Time: Questions about the purpose of the lives of individuals, and how they fit into the huge mass that is today's society make up this track. I don't particularly like this song, because the music behind the lyrics isn't particularly strong. The guitar riff sounds overly repetitive, and the bass line does not support the song as well as it does on other tracks.

Too Much: Be forewarned that if you ever listen to this song, the line, "Got the same... frame of mind!" will be stuck in your head for days. This song sounds extremely melodic, and it leaves you wondering why the band does not do more of this type of song. It's more of a reggae song than any other on this album, and it's very impressive. The different beats in the song complement each other perfectly.

Islands: Too Much and Islands are very similar tracks. The song is about dreaming and being discouraged. This song is a lot more mellow than the other tracks, but its message is just as strong. This song is also quite short. On their newer albums, all of The Suicide Machines' songs tend to be relatively short, but this was not necessarily the case early on with Destruction by Definition.

The Real You: This track showcases the ability of The Suicide Machines' vocalists. Jay Navarro is the lead vocalist, but Royce Nunley (bass) and Dan Luckacinsky (guitar) back him up. Having three vocalists gives them a ton of flexibility, and this is evident in this track. This track even borrows a female voice for the part that represents a lovers' fight. The relatively simple guitar riff and excellent lyrics allow the listener to focus on exactly how great the vocals are.

Face Values: This song is all about confidence in one's self despite variance from the norm. It is clearly meant to inspire those who do not conform to the world's expectations. This song seems to bring out Operation Ivy's influence on The Suicide Machines the most out of any song on the album.

Punk Out: This one's very catchy, but maybe a little too repetitive. The images of everyone growing up and finding new lives is the main idea of this song. This song is another short one, unfortunately, and the amount of times the line "I'm Sorry" is repeated is a little too much.

Vans Song: Meant for pure fun, Vans Song is driven by powerful horns and humorous lyrics. Vans, for those not in the know, are a brand of shoes. This song is fun to listen to because it's really just a comical little advertisement for Vans. Some examples of the fine lyrics in this song: "Someone'll probably tell you that they're not in trend / Just tell them that's the reason why you don't have any friends. No friends, no friends, no friends...."

Insecurities: This track sounds very different than the rest of Destruction by Definition. It's not necessarily a bad song, but it fits in badly with the rest of the album, and especially badly in between Vans Song and Inside / Outside. The lyrics are relatively strong, as they address everyday worries, concerns, and problems. In other words, this is a song about insecurities. So, at least it's well titled.

Inside / Outside: If there's a weak link to this album, Inside / Outside is it. The tempo varies a lot, from too slow to too fast and back again. The lyrics in this one are mediocre, as well. They describe a person who's essentially lost because they're obsessed with being popular and cool.

Zero: This fast-paced track is easily one of the best on the album. It's all about feeling like a zero because of people breaking your heart and laughing at you. Though that image is very sad and depressing, the song itself is very upbeat. This song, like "The Real You", shows the advantages of having three vocalists.

So Long: It's appropriate that the last original song on the track be named "So Long". Also fitting is the fact that this song is a good summation of the entire album. It's not the best song on the album, but all of The Suicide Machines' strengths are exhibited here. The smart lyrics tell about learning about a person when they leave you.

I Don't Wanna Hear It: A decent cover of the song by Minor Threat. Not being a huge fan of Minor Threat myself, I don't know exactly how decent it is. This song is a hidden track, and an excellent surprise.

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