Did you like Sketchy Details on Facebook yet? The 50th person to like the page gets any item they want, up to $20 in value, from the Etsy store. Exclusive content and easier commenting at the click of this link. Julissa Veloz is a former American Idol contestant with an unusual story for non-finalists. She's actually had commercial success. Julissa is doing quite well internationally on the dance charts. Her first post-Idol single "Take Control" made it to #8 on the Billboard Dance/Club Charts and the follow-up "Predator" reached #19 on the same list. She does great dance music with an identifiable style. Her songs are all about the balance of power between men and women. Specifically, she turns the power dynamic partway through the song and empowers her performance character to be in control of her own destiny.
Enter "Mayhem." This is another solid dance track from Julissa. There's really not much to say. It's on trend for dance music right now. It features some throwback late 80's/early 90's vocal processing going into the bridge but is mostly an organic vocal. The melody is memorable, if a bit repetitive.
The big story is the video. "Mayhem" has, in some way, been banned from TV. Have the specifics come out? Not really. Even in the vague details we know now, this video becomes a piece of media worth exploring.
The banning is a perplexing decision. The video is a revenge fantasy where Julissa plays multiple characters working together to get back at a bad boyfriend. She shoots first the boyfriend and then her accomplice to get away with it. I know it's the gun violence that got the video banned. The odd part is how tame that violence actually is.
At any hour of the day, you will see a film trailer on TV that has more graphic and upsetting violence than anything that appears in "Mayhem." There will be drive-bys, stabbings, people thrown through windows, blood-soaked punches, and blood-curdling screams that can't be ignored. Somehow, these trailers get approved for all audiences but a simple little music video is banned?
Let's take this a step further. Think of how often you see domestic violence in a music video. Surely P!nk shoving someone in a wheelchair down a staircase to cripple him so he can't leave is more disturbing than two gunshots. What about Lady Gaga being choked and thrown off a balcony in "Paparazzi," only to rebuild herself and murder her assailant? Shoot, look at Eminem's serious music videos. Almost all of them feature a heavy dose of domestic abuse shown right on screen. Giving Megan Fox a beating is ok, but Julissa's video goes too far?
It's an odd double standard. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that Julissa's label does not have the bargaining power of these major label artists. They can't just strong-arm the TV censors to get their way. All it takes is the right kind of leverage in censorship negotiations to get your way.
The video is perfectly safe for work. Give it a watch.
I've seen more graphic violence in middle school productions of Shakespeare. What are your thoughts?