This ballad is the lead single from Irish pop band Westlife's eleventh studio album, Gravity. John Shanks, who produced the album and James Grunder, frontman of American rock group Golden State, wrote the song.
The decision to release this tune as the lead single came from executive producer, Simon Cowell. Band member Mark Feehily told OK magazine: "Safe was actually a song that John brought with him from the States when we first met him in London. He played it to us and we were like 'nice one let's get it in.' We played it to Simon Cowell and he loved it."
Grunder told the story of the song on Westlife's official website: "We sat down at the piano, and John started banging some chords out. We just start tapping into the music until it struck a feeling. I left town shortly after because my father was being inducted into his universities athletic hall of fame in Pennsylvania. I kept writing ideas down on the computer every chance I could. I remember sitting on a chair at my aunt's house, in her basement, when it all clicked. I sang a rough idea into the computer and sent it to John. We were so ecstatic about the track and knew we had something beautiful, a timeless classic."
Grubder explained the song's meaning: "The lyrics are from an outside perspective, for example, if you were looking at someone from afar, and maybe you have an interest in them, but every time you see them, they look as though they are going through a real rough moment in their life. And, if for that single moment, you wish you could just reach out and make it all better. Inspiration for the track came from a real life experience. There is a cafe that I used to visit when I was meeting my father in Pennsylvania - and every time we were there, I saw this attractive girl sitting at a table in the back. She had this look on her face, as though something terrible had happened, and all I wanted to do was reach out and comfort her. For me it tells the story of courage, spirit, and desire."
The music video was directed by Sean De Sparengo and filmed in different settings, all in London - Wimbledon Road, The Royal Hospital for Neurodisability, and an unnamed bar. Band member Shane Filan explained its superheroes theme to OK magazine: "There's a bit of acting for us to be doing and we're getting involved in all different scenes. We're kind of flipping the word safe and making it 'unsafe' - trying to stop people from being 'unsafe'. We're the heroes - although we don't have cloaks (laughs). It's real life stories put into a video."