I guess this song is most fondly remembered for its Michel Gondry-directed video, achieving such iconic status in popular culture that even garnered it a Simpsons’ tribute/spoof. Along with his Lego-brick treatment of “Fell in Love with a Girl”, Gondry’s filmic reduction of the band to its bare essentials – in this case, the band’s stunning bombast through simple repetition – is a concise distillation of what Jack and Meg have accomplished with their stark visual aesthetics (primary colors of red, white and black), single-minded musical direction (old school rock and blues) and daring ambition (can two people sound like a seven nation army? hell yeah).
For me, “The Hardest Button to Button” is actually the White Stripes song I’ve heard most in my life. As the chosen tune on my morning alarm, it’s quite literally the song I’ve been waking up to over the past year. On good mornings, it takes only a few plays of Jack White’s ominous single bassline before I hit the snooze; on worse days, my heart starts beating faster only when Meg turns up the beat and Jack transforms the intro into a snarling siren. That’s probably quite a decontextualized way of relating to Jack and Meg, but I guess that’s how they’ve somehow become part of my daily morning routine, and in a small way, part of my life. – Dan.
“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want.”