Honestly, I don’t remember a lot from high school health class, but I’ve always had a morbid fascination with emergency responder procedures. I liked that there could be a standard process to turn to if everything was literally up in flames. I still remember that if you come upon someone, you’re supposed to check the scene, call responders, care for the victim. I always wished there could be an equivalent for messy mental, emotional, social situations—a standard routine we all followed to understand each other, to prevent and repair the damage that we can’t always see. Art might be the closest we all have. Artists check out a scene, call to volumes of histories and people to draw from and respond, and care for us all with what they create.

In light of the looming political and social distress to come, I don’t think art is going to get any “better” any more than my grandma could knit a blanket any better on fire with one of her arms cut off. But the need will get greater, the thirst will run deeper. 2017 is going to be complex, stressful, fearful, but maybe beautiful at times. Maybe we’ll grow. We’ll all turn to music to fight, dance and laugh to, to struggle to, to learn from. Here’s a playlist of songs the world has already given us to take into 2017 and uncover when you need:

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