The shutdown has us feeling a lot of feelings, friends, and none of them are great. We are sad about the national parks system, nervous about the debt ceiling, sort of happy about those billionaires who are privately funding interim HeadStart (though it’s a complicated sort of happiness, to say the least, as we’re not wild about pre-K education for disadvantaged kids depending entirely on the benevolence of the gentry). And with regard to the House of Representatives we are possessed of a febrile, surging rage whose pressure is constantly building and that threatens to spiral upwards from our guts and burst out the tops of our heads.

At a time like this, there’s nothing to do but dance. Or, OK, maybe listen to sad music and cry. Here’s our gridlock playlist to get you through the shutdown days ahead. Right now we’re in soulful/hopeful mode, but if the shutdown’s still going week from now, check back, we’ll have a playlist composed entirely of death metal and Elliott Smith.

Lisa Lucas (songs) and Rachel Riederer (words) for Guernica

De La Soul: Stakes is High
Try to remember this is true.

Betty Wright: He’s Bad Bad Bad
We’re looking at you, John Boehner.

Public Enemy: Shut ‘Em Down
Submitted without comment.

Gil Scott-Heron: Winter in America
Just lean into those feelings. Lyrics include buffalo and circling vultures.

Swamp Dogg: God Bless America For What?:
Good question, Swamp Dogg.

Peggy Lee: Why Don’t You Do Right?
We typed up the lyrics to this one up and sent it to our legislators.

Stevie Wonder: We Can Work it Out

Rachel Riederer

Rachel Riederer is co-Editor in Chief of Guernica. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Best American Essays, and others.

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