I was always mocked at school for enjoying Westlife music, and still I get looked down upon when I mention that I like one of their tracks. Until they released their latest number from their new album Gravity. The song is called ‘Safe’ and is all about protecting people you love and feeling safe, so anyone can relate to the song. When I casually and rather cowardly mention that I like this track, instead of being bopped on the head and left dizzy on the floor while the bandits run off with my iPod, I actually receive a smile and murmur of what I think is someone replying that they in actual fact rather enjoy the song too.
When Simon Cowell was interviewed and asked about the song, he said :
“It’s such a fabulous track, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it became a smash song”.
But despite having Mr. Cowell’s backing, the song only managed to reach No.10 in the UK Singles Chart and No.4 in Ireland.
But how do you go about writing a top ten single? Well, writer of the single James Grunder reveals how his writing process worked for the single ‘Safe’.
“We sat down at the piano, and John (Shanks) starting 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 in 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. 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 wise you could just reach out and make it all better. Inspiration for the track came from a real experience. There is a café 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 most powerful line of lyrics for me is the following:
“If you’ve lost your way
I will keep you safe
Well open up all your world inside
So you come alive tonight
I will keep you safe“
To me, this song is all about someone you care about trying his (or her!) hardest to help you up, after you have received a blow emotionally (although in the music video it’s more physical as there is a big car crash) and is trying to build you back up, and telling you that they are going to try their hardest to keep you safe so that you’ll feel sad no more.
So my verdict on the song?
I think I will have to side with Simon Cowell, it is a fab song which hasn’t been appreciated as much as it should have. The only reason I can think of why this has happened is that people enjoy the song, but are afraid to go out and buy the song in case, like me, get teased by their peers for liking an ‘uncool’ boy band.
Well I’m going to set the record straight. Westlife are cool. They may consist mainly of ballads and soppy music videos, but they do churn out brilliant songs, like Safe for example. And now with 11 albums under their belt, they must be doing something right.