The Songs That Inspire Wildcat Nation: Jackson Ivy and Music that Criticizes ‘Injustice and Immorality’


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Music is a way for humans to express themselves by both making it and listening to it. UHS News will be interviewing students and staff about the music that inspires them and why. We interviewed Jackson Ivy about his five favorite songs, giving insight into his personality and what he loves.

Ivy is well-known around Ukiah High campus for his passion for music, making it in both Wildcat Nation’s band program and his own band Erasmus playing rock ‘n’ roll with other local musicians.

Ivy’s first song is “Language I: Intuition” by The Contortionist. It’s his “go-to song to get pumped”, and he thinks that “it’s an absolutely gorgeous song with angelic vocals” and “incredibly thoughtful instrumental work.” According to Ivy, it’s “a total trip because it has to do with what I can only assume to be the immense complexities of human intuition”.

“The Further Side” by Nova Collective is Ivy’s next song— an “instrumental jazz-fusion piece that has some of the most incredible guitar parts ever”, he says. Ivy tells us that “I love instrumental melodies more than anything in music, so this song appeals to that side of me.” And of course, he says that “I just think it’s a gorgeous song.”

Third on Ivy’s list is “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine, which he explains as a “classic ‘screw the system’ song that deals with police brutality, white privilege, and racism.” He tells us that “it has an ironic ending that not only resonates with me but sends a powerful message,” which has inspired him to learn it with his band and “play it for others to further its message.”

“U-Fig” by System of a Down is Ivy’s next song, one that is “similar to ‘Killing in the Name’ in its criticism of institutions” but “focuses more on criticizing human nature through American hypocrisy”, which he “appreciates immensely.” Ivy said the band’s “messages resonate more with me than any other political band. System of a Down’s musicianship has his “utmost respect.”

Ivy’s last song, “So What,” is a “quintessential jazz piece” that “any person with a basic level of jazz knowledge will know.” For him, it’s “one of the most touching and emotional pieces of all time” because it “represents what music is about: those moments where you lose yourself in the playing or the listening and all you can do is close your eyes and let it wash over you.” Simply put, he “just loves this song.”

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Jackson Ivy practicing guitar at home [Picture provide by Jackson himself]

When asked what these songs say about him, Ivy said that “these songs demonstrate me as someone who cares deeply about justice and morality,” because he finds that “the songs that criticize injustice and immorality appeal to me the most as far as song meanings.” Additionally, he thinks that “the instrumental pieces show that I’m a very data-driven person.” Ivy sees “music as data, which is why I love it so much.” He further explains this by saying that “I have exactly zero talent or ability in visual art. Music is my method of expression.” Finally, he believes that “my overall acceptance and appreciation for music as an art is expressed here, because the songs are all from a somewhat diverse selection of genres” that he “maybe doesn’t like so much,” which he attributes to the fact that “I think it’s all important in some way.” 

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