In 2005, five years after it had originally been released, Dusted performed a makeover on their album When We Were Young, and reissued it as Safe from Harm. We’re just a handful of weeks after the fifteenth anniversary of the original album, which makes it a decade since the reissue, and an ideal moment to take a listen.
New opener In the Beginning starts with the sound of a baby crying, which can be a little overused in music sometimes, but here, on an album about the journey of childhood, it’s entirely appropriate.
The driving force behind Dusted is Rollo, most famously from Faithless, and so it’s entirely apt that his sister Dido turns up to lead the vocals on Time Takes Time, a beautiful song which stood out on the original album, but here is magnificent. In fact, all the way through this album we’re blessed by extremely strong vocal performances.
DIdo stays on for Hurt U as well, but it’s difficult to remember that once the exquisite Always Remember to Respect and Honour Your Mother (Part 1) begins. Released as a single in early 2000, with a serene and ethereal animated video, it remains one of the most beautiful songs of the last couple of decades. If you aren’t touched by this, there really is something wrong with you.
Whereas When We Were Young had a few minor blips, the quality on Safe from Harm really doesn’t relent. But it’s best viewed as a single entity, rather than a group of songs – pieces like Rest are lovely, but you’re not likely to listen to them outside of the album context.
Biggest Fool in the World brings another fantastic vocal, and then Always Remember to Respect and Honour Your Mother (Part 2) follows, an instrumental driven by pounding beats and a spoken word section. Then Winter, a deep, atmospheric piece, with another fine vocal performance from Dido.
Oscar Song and In Memoriam both have their place, but are probably about as close as this album comes to filler, and even that would be a pretty unfair word to use here. Under the Sun and If I Had a Child are both exceptional songs – it’s hard to find any more superlatives for them at this point, but both really are very good indeed.
And that’s about it – unless you leave the CD playing a little longer, and come across the hidden bonus track, which I suspect ought to be called I Am a Monster (Discogs suggests it’s actually called A Typical Monster Song, but offers no evidence for this). It has very little to do with the rest of the album, but it’s a fun epilogue nonetheless.
So Safe from Harm may be a remake of an earlier album, but while both are good, Safe from Harm really took it to another level. It’s an exceptional album, and perhaps one day Dusted will come back for another go. If we’re lucky.
You can still find Safe from Harm at all major retailers.