Government agency CPSC gave safety advice on new music album

Joseph Galbo felt excited about his upcoming album when he first heard its opening track this summer.

The hip-hop song quickly attracted listeners with a catchy beat and chorus and meaningful lyrics. But the song was different from the music that topped the Billboard charts.

Galbo is not a music producer; he is a social media specialist for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The album he was creating was filled with safety tips, like wearing a helmet when riding a bike or skateboarding — the subject of the opening song “Protect Ya Noggin’.”

The seven-track album, released last week, also includes electronic dance, reggaeton, pop and lo-fi tracks about wearing protective gear, putting away your phone, checking detectors smoke and the safe use of fireworks.

Galbo told the Washington Post that the album, “We’re safe now, aren’t we» aims to share precautions with teenagers and people in their 20s. He hopes listeners will think it’s “slap in the face” – a slang word to describe a good song.

“Whatever your expectations are for this government thing you’re about to see or listen to, our products are going to exceed it,” Galbo, 37, said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a small government agency based in Bethesda, Maryland, that aims to protect citizens from dangerous products. Since Galbo started working there in June 2016, he has attracted thousands of new followers to the agency’s social media accounts by sharing memes featuring animals, presidents, babies, skeletons, rubber ducks, dragons, scarecrows And robots.

“The more obvious a safety tip seems, the more people will shake their heads,” Galbo told the Post in 2019. “I want to release something that will overcome that cynicism…something that shocks you and snaps you out of your daze.”

In February, Galbo and his colleagues decided that an album would be their next project. This wasn’t the first time the agency had advertised through music; it made a pool safety song in 2015.

The TV show “Schoolhouse Rock!” » educational songs popularized about government between 1973 and 2000, including “I’m just a bill» by Jack Sheldon and «The preamble» by Lynn Ahrens. But the U.S. government rarely releases its own jingles.

Galbo looked at data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which records information on product-related injuries in the United States, to identify issues the songs should cover. He traveled the country looking for singers, producers and other musicians, sending them data on safety issues facing teens and young adults and asking them to write and sing for a particular kind. Galbo said the entire project cost about $300,000.

Although he didn’t know if the album would be effective, he felt optimistic when he heard “Protect Ya Noggin’” in June.

“When you’re on these streets / Be careful / Protect your neck and your noggin,” says the chorus.

The singers don’t identify themselves, so the accent remains about the song’s messages, Galbo said. He said some artists are famous and others are rising stars.

Galbo’s enthusiasm grew as he heard more songs. “Phone missing,” And “Off-road adventure»are accompanied by EDM beats.

“Push the limits, feel the thrill / but don’t forget, to keep it real,” says the chorus in “Off Road Adventure,” which advocates wearing protective gear when riding an ATV.

Se Pone Caliente” And “Fly away like fireworks» sound like love songs, except for the mentions of safety precautions. The first concerns a couple whose “love is a flame,” so they have to check their smoke detectors to avoid “burning themselves.” The latter concerns a duo who “light sparks with our energy”, so they must “put out those flames with water”.

The lo-fi track, “Rhythms to relax/be safe”, is less moralistic and samples dialogue from the early 1970s. Consumer Product Safety Commission Advertisingin which a father suggests giving his son a marshmallow instead of a dangerous toy.

To complete the project, Galbo said he wanted to design an album cover that would make people “stop (scroll) and look.” He turned dozens of fictional animal characters into memes to promote safety on the Commission’s social media accounts. He included photos of four of the most popular animals on the album cover.

A blackbird, which Galbo named Beau Ron and photoshopped a hat onto, flies into a smoke detector in the upper right corner. In front of him is a Galbo cat named Copernicus Jackson, who is holding a cell phone display fireworks on the cover.

At the bottom, a Galbo fox named Quinn the Safety Fox wears a blue helmet. Additionally, a Shiba Inu named Potato the Dog rides an ATV with a black helmet covering his tail — a poor placement Galbo says fits the dog’s personality. Bright lasers serve as the backdrop.

There are a few clues that the album is not traditional. There is a disclaimer on the bottom right of the cover that the album was made by the government, and each song begins with a narrator saying “thanks to the people at CPSC.”

The album is available on the Commission’s website and on YouTube. Galbo said the album has been listened to about 73,000 times. The songs are in the public domain, he said, and he wants people to remix and republish them.

Aaron Greiner, 27, an urban planner from Boston, said he listened to the album after the Commission. I posted it on X – formerly known as Twitter – on September 20. He expected some noteworthy songs, he said.

“It usually went from ridiculous to something enjoyable to listen to,” Greiner said.

He listened to the lo-fi track while answering emails and sent the album to his friends for laughs. Additionally, “Se Pone Caliente” reminded him to check the batteries in his smoke detectors.

These conversation starters and reminders are what Galbo hoped the album would spark. He is brainstorming ideas for the second volume, which he hopes will include country and jazz songs.

“I didn’t expect my federal career to be like this,” Galbo said.


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