Bassist John Taylor told the story of this song in a blog on Duran Duran's website: "It began life as a bassline and loop brought in by Mark (Ronson, producer), in which he referenced NY post-punk bands ESG and Liquid-Liquid. Fantastic fun to play. At first Simon's vocal ideas were deemed too Happy Mondays-ish. The groove sat around for months, in my iTunes, called simply 'New York Minute'. Simon had to go back to the drawing board on this one several times until he came up with the concept of 'Safe (in the heat of the moment)'. But once he sang the basis of 'Safe', we all jumped on it, hungry as we were to have the energy that this song has in spades on the album."
The song features a vocal contribution by Ana Matronic. Taylor discussed the hook up with the Scissor Sisters singer (try saying that quickly!): "We added back-up vocalists on the chorus (just a little bit Bee Gees) and then a moment of genius: Ana from Scissor Sisters spent an evening with the track in the company of Nick (Rhodes) and Mark (Ronson), and what did we get? A brilliant rap-tastic girl power moment."
Until December 5, 1998, a song had to be issued as a single to make the Hot 100. Aaliyah's "Try Again" was the first tune to top the chart based on airplay alone, without any sales figures being included.