Vocals - Jason Navarro
Guitar - Dan Lukacinsky
Bass - Royce Nunley
Drums/Keys - Derek Grant
Destruction By Definition is quite possibly one of the best ska-punk albums of the 90s. If it isn't, then it's pretty damn close.
The Machines have been around for over ten years, and this was their first and best album. I'll come right up front and say that I don't know a lot about this band. I've never seen them live and I don't own all their albums (But, I've heard them all).
But this particular album truly contains everything I love about punk, ska and to a much lesser degree, hardcore. Every song contains at least one catchy chorus, bassline, or lyric, that WILL get you hooked. These 16 songs (17 actually, a cover of Minor Threat's "I Don't Wanna Hear It" is a hidden track) show remarkable energy, spirit and passion; all of which are what make a good ska, punk or hardcore album.
The album starts off with the explosive 'New Girl'
, a ska-punk hybrid that WILL get you dancing (or moshing), quite possibly their most famous song, this song sets the mood for the rest of the album.
, follows it up with an equally energetic preformance, however this song is much more serious untilizing a much darker, serious tone then the first track. It sounds far more closer to Two-Tone than third wave ska, which helps it sound like The Specials would, if they played third wave.
'Break The Glass'
is the longest song on the album, and it barely cracks 3 minutes! This is probably the most typical third wave song up to this point, featuring sped-up verses followed by a chanting punk chorus - "BREAK THE GLASS, I BREAK IT DOWN!" which leads into the best part of the song; The outro. The outro features the classic upstroke guitar, and walking bassline, over a crashing drumbeat and a second guitar that sounds like Pete from The Who playing the end of 'Won't Get Fooled Again'. I'll admit... It gives me goosebumps.
is the purest ska song on the album. Featuring shout-along vocals - "NO RACE, NO FACE, STILL THE SAME PLACE!!!" over a fantastic bassline and some tasty keys... Definately one of the highlights of this exceptional album.
starts off with a distorted intro that sounds like the end of the world but quickly changes keys (and tempo) into the most upbeat, quickest songs on the album. The song isn't happy though. - "If we take a look at our world today, are our morals in decline or have we all gone insane?" despite being song extremely fast and over a blazing hornline (?) the song ends rather abruptly, but not before leaving a look of shock over your face and your lips quietly whispering 'What in the....'
is my favorite song on the album. The song bursts out of the gates with Jay screaming "I'VE GOT NO TIME!!!", and the song doesn't let up. Lyrically, the best song on the album. - "I've seen through all the years and through all the tears, I've seen my share, it makes me feel like no one even cares." This scorching ska-punk song has an intense feel throughout, the guitar sounds like it's about to collapse and Jay seems like he's about ready to just plain collapse!
The next song up is 'Too Much'
, a old school hardcore sounding number. This feels like classic Descendents, if it wasn't for the out-of-nowhere ska breakdown in the middle of the song. I've heard it's a fan-favorite, and rightly so. This song is stellar.
is the first song on the album to not feature any ska. Not like it matters because way this song flows it wouldn't work. Another fan favorite, it's very hard to describe. Sounds sorta like folk-punk, only much louder. -"All my dreams were just Islands In The Sky", Jay's telling the listener that he's tired of his dreams being taken away from him, while he's being pushed forward. Very emotional (no, not emo) song. Especially the way he screams 'SKYYYYYYY' right at the end.
'The Real You'
starts out with an awesome tom-beat, and quickly dives into a punk intro, into a ska verse. It's kinda typical other than the intro, however the chorus is very catchy, even if it's pretty basic - 'I WANNA SEE THE REAL YOU!' Right near the end there is a quick back-and-forth between Jay and a girl, it's pretty funny, but it closes up the song well.
is kinda boring, honestly. Standard ska-punk, but the lyrics are well-done "You've got no friends and you're lonely, it does not have to be this way, just be yourself your one and only, It takes some time, but that's okay!" It's also the shortest song on the album at a trim 1:21.
is essentially that. The guys punking out. Just short of three minutes this non-stop punk rocker features fun drum-rolls and a pretty cool bassline. Chanting "Hey!"s throughout the song make it fun and catchy, but it's not one of the best songs on the album.
is the second (and last) song on the album to feature horns. However, this song's choice of topic includes shoes..... But it still includes some of my favorite lyrics on the album -
'If you wanna where 'em you don't have to ride a skateboard,
you can even where 'em with a pair of old chords,
someone'll probably tell you that they're not in trend,
just tell 'em that's the reason that you don't have any friends!'
A shout-along chorus and awesome sax parts make this one of the best songs on the album.
is a short quick punk number. The opening guitar 'solo' is quite catchy. The lyrics consist of worrying about himself, the world around him and life. The outro features an awesome, if not depressing, ska breakdown that leads it into probably the best, if not second best song on the album....
is punk rock. It's insanely GOOD punk rock. Featuring guitar-less verses, a catchy bassline, an INTENSE chorus, PHENOMENAL guitar-work, another great drum-beat, and a completely out-of-the-blue punk break-down at the end.... This song is packed into a neat little 1:48, yet you FEEL every second of it. One of the best songs on the album, hands down.
is about feeling useless, and un-needed. It's another solid song, but doesn't have much to distinguish itself from the rest of the songs other than it's energy and spirit. Which is probably why it's better than average. But, JUST.
is the only other song other than 'Break The Glass' to crack the 3 minute mark. The intro sounds like a punk version of Jimmy Eat World (!) with the guys all singing different things all at once, it's very clever and leads into an excellent guitar-less verse and fantastic ska chorus 'You know you make me wanna say so long, you know you make me wanna say goodbye!' with a screamed 'GOODBYE!!!' used to end the song, the album couldn't end on a better note....
Or does it? 'I Don't Wanna Hear It'
is a Minor Threat cover, that fits in quite well with the rest of the album, ska-core at it's finest, it actually feels like they wrote it themselves. Which is what a good cover should be, IMO.
New Girl - 4.5/5
S.O.S. - 4.5/5
Break The Glass - 5/5
No Face - 5/5
Hey - 5/5
Our Time - 5/5
Too Much - 5/5
Islands - 5/5
The Real You - 4/5
Face Values - 3.5/5
Punk Out - 4/5
Vans Song - 5/5
Insecurities - 4/5
Inside/Outside - 5/5
Zero - 3.5/5
So Long - 5/5
I Don't Wanna Hear It - 5/5
In conclusion, if you like ska, punk, hardcore, or just good music, Destruction By Definition does NOT dissappoint.
If you like Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Operation Ivy, or The Clash, give it a listen.