The New Normal

by A. David MacKinnon

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Pressure rolling in waves. Measure pain with pills. I start the car and drive. I start the car and drive. In motion, sitting still. Time. No time. Nighttime is worse. No sleep but close your eyes. Thoughts race to how and why and when and what goes first. Bit by bit everything comes apart when the waiting starts. Nights get long, days get cold and dark when the waiting starts. How can I say what I want to say? How can I say everything will be OK?
I'm afraid of dying and I'm scared of living alone. Growing old without you. I get so cold. Don't want to talk about it. Please let me be the one. I try so hard. I don't know why I'm quick to anger but I'm slow to cry. You know I don't mind, please let me be the one. A righteous man might kneel and make a deal with God. I don't believe in God. An broken man might hide from the life that's left. I'm not there yet. We've been all over. Now I'm never far from home. The things we did together I can't do them on my own. I know you hate to be alone but please let me be the one. A righteous man might kneel and make a deal with God. I don't believe in God. An angry man might lash out any way he can. I've been that man. I'm still that man. The days are short. The clock won't wait. I wasted time and now the hour's late. Don't want to talk about it. Please let me be the one.
Love, I'm not a jealous guy but you're always on my mind. I sleep to dream of home but when I wake up I'm alone again. We ride the miles from here to nowhere. Chase a dotted line that flickers in the dark. With the radio turned low, voices fight the static, ecstatic, with a love I'll never know, and a God who doesn't show. These towns, they always look the same. Dead kings and queens will lend their names to downtown streets with shuttered stores. I'm leaving now. I'm almost home.
The nurse called the doctor. The doctor called the priest. My clothes were out of style by the time I got release. Wash your face. Comb your hair. You can't hide those teeth. On the bus I think of us and weep. The air is cold and the sun hangs low in a greasy winter sky. The old town's slick with money now and I could almost cry. I looked in every stranger's face. I looked in our old haunts. I looked for you but all I got was lost. Out of the dark and into the light of some other day. I'm feeling all lit up but I know I'm fading away. What's going to happen to us? Main street to Metro West, Maplehurst and worse. I got it all lined up but someone got there first. I lived for years inside my head now I'm back out on the street. Everything has changed except for me.
I wake up tired. I go to sleep the same way. Wrung out and strung up by the end of the day. I'm sick of myself. I'm sure everyone else feels the same. You have a way. You have a light. The years take the shine off us all. That's alright. I was angry back then. I'll be angry again but I'm thankful tonight. And the only thing clear is that we started out there and we ended up here. Here you are smiling from the window of a train. I was there, just out of frame, on our way back to Rome. Pausing as we passed. A click. A flash. Was it really such a long time ago? I'm not afraid of my tomorrows. I'm not ashamed of my yesterdays. Bad as it gets, I have regrets but I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid. There you are in Central Park. Late summer, early fall. The reservoir was grey. We were on our way somewhere uptown. Pausing as we passed. A click. A flash. was it really such a long time ago?
I changed the locks. I changed my mind. Put the kid to bed and in my head sang fragments of our song. I fell asleep in my clothes. All the lights are on. I woke up cold. You're still gone. I count the hours and the days. I let those miseries replay in my mind all the time. You suffer yours. I'll suffer mine. Your mother called and while I stalled the things I said were true. We had planned to get away in June. You got away. You always do. I'd only hoped you'd take me too.
If you ever let the good times bring you down the things we said last night could be tomorrow's saddest sound. I could raise a toast to friends but friends won't come around. I'll never let the good times bring me down. Every night the bottle calls my bluff. One more's never one more and enough is not enough. I come on like diamonds but I look like bones and rust, rags and dust. I've been on this road too long. I had some friends but they're gone. Every night's a Friday in this town but I'll never let the good times bring me down. Every step I take has led me here. The same old lies get whispered in my ear. The same sad voices sing the same sad songs about golden years. Every step I take has led me here. I've been on this road too long. I had some friends but they're gone. Every night's a Friday in this town. Friendly smiles on ugly faces. Last call could be hours away till the song bird sings. Oh God I hate that sound. I'll never let the good times bring me down.
The new normal is diamonds in the dirt. The cleanest dirty shirt. Oh babe, I know it hurts sometimes to laugh. But you laugh. What else can you do? I'm so in love with you. I'm so in love with you. Tomorrow and forever I don't know what they're even for. Let's just try and take it slow. I'm just happy to be lying by your side. I know you know. The new normal is something like the old if you don't mind being told I'm so in love with.


With a few minor exceptions this album was recorded live off the floor, without headphones and with as little second guessing as humanly possible. A huge thanks to everyone involved for making it a painless and beautiful experience.


released October 17, 2017

Recorded at 6 Nassau, Toronto, June 15-17 2016.
The New Normal recorded at home, November 17 2016.

Produced and engineered by David MacKinnon
Asst. engineer Tobin J. Stewart
Mixed by Jeff McMurrich at Sonology
Mastered by Harris Newman

Tavo Diez de Bonilla - bass
Michael Brushey - drums
Tyler Greenleaf - trumpet and trombone
David MacKinnon - singing, grand piano, guitar, percussion, drums on Ulster Street 3am, all instruments on The New Normal
Christopher Sandes - Fender rhodes, organ, upright piano

All songs by A. David MacKinnon (SOCAN).
Copyright A. David MacKinnon 2016.

For Pamela.


all rights reserved



A. David MacKinnon Toronto, Ontario

A. David MacKinnon is a Toronto based songwriter and producer. From the late 90s till the late 00's he was one half of the band FemBots. In the years since the last Fembots record David retired from singing to focused on record production and composing for film.
Retirement didn't take. In 2015ish David went back to writing down words and trying to sing them.
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