Jack White says that the song is about a child trying to find his place in a dysfunctional family when a new baby comes.
The music video for "The Hardest Button to Button" is the third White Stripes video directed by Michel Gondry, after "Fell in Love with a Girl" and "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" (two years later, he would direct the music video for "The Denial Twist").
The video utilizes pixilation animation to create the effect of dozens of drum kits and guitar amplifiers multiplying to the rhythm of the song as Jack and Meg perform. For example, in one sequence, Meg is seen playing the bass drum at a subway station. At every beat she plays, she appears with a new bass drum while the last becomes vacant. This was achieved by first setting up a trail of bass drums. Then, Meg would be filmed performing a single beat on the last drum in the line, followed by the removal of that drum. Meg would then proceed to the next drum, play another beat, and so on. The final video is edited to include the drum beats with the sequence reversed, making it appear as if the drums are being added to the beat, appearing out of thin air. As many as 80 identical bass drums and Fender guitar amps were used in the video.
Much of the video was filmed around Riverside Drive and the Columbia University area near Grant's Tomb and around the 125th Street exit and surrounding neighborhood, - all part of the Upper West Side in Manhattan - New York City. Parts of the video were filmed at the 33rd Street PATH station.
There is a short cameo by Beck about two and a half minutes in as a man in a suit presenting Jack with a "box with something in it".