"The Hardest Button to Button" as written by and Jack White....
We started living in an old house
My ma gave birth and we were checking it out
It was a baby boy
So we bought him a toy
It was a ray gun
And it was 1981

We named him 'Baby'
He had a tootache
He started crying
It sounded like an earthquake
It didn't last long
Because I stopped it
I grabbed a rag doll
And stuck some little pins in it

Now we're a family
And we're alright now
We got money and a little place
To fight now
We don't know you
And we don't owe you
But if you see us around
I got something else to show you

Well it's easy when you don't know better
You think it's sleazy?
Then put it in a short letter
We keep warm
But there's just something wrong
When you
Just feel like you're the hardest button to button

I had opinions
That didn't matter
I had a brain
That felt like pancake batter
I got a backyard
With nothing in it
Except a stick
A dog
And a box with something in it

The hardest button to button

Lyrics submitted by ruben

"The Hardest Button to Button" as written by Jack White

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Hardest Button to Button song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentThis song is about a kid who becomes jealous after his mother has a new baby. The phrase "The Hardest Button to Button" comes from a topcoat that Jack White owns. He describes how the top button is the "hardest button to button."
    SixSixSixSpecialon April 11, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is all about trying to get other people to shut up. First the baby, then the family keeps fighting, then everyone else won't shut up about them (put it in a short letter). The guy has opinions that don't matter because no one else will shut up long enough to listen. All he's got is his pancake batter and his backyard. The "Hardest Button to Button" is your lip.
    random_carbuncleon May 08, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentHere it is:

    A baby is born and the older brother is jealous because he doesn't get any attention. He is envious until the baby is given up to adoption because the family is poor and cant afford another mouth to feed. After the child is gone... the family gains a litle wealth but now they miss the child. And he realizes this as he looks across the empty backyard.
    CadillacKincaidon October 23, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentoooh, I just read one of the other posts I missed and I realized that he might have murdered his little brother (voodoo, doll, pins, etc) and his little brother is in the box. oooh, what a morbid idea.....
    hppynisson August 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is crazy sick.. my favorite from the whole cd, and if you havent heard this cd, get it because its like one of my best purchases in a long time.
    sutton230on June 12, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think Jack writes lyrics like Anthony KEidis from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. They just are not meant to make sense to us.

    I disagree with teh communism idea, this song has nothing to do with class and stuff. I'm sorry i just don't think so.

    I do think that this song is about his life. His mom having a new baby and him feeling in the background. Like the new baby took all the glory. I think he was feeling some hostility to it. "cause i stopped it/grabbed a rag doll and stuck some pins in it" he might have beaten this baby, or intimidated it with this doll.

    But onto the the 'now we're a family' part of the song. He's grown up with his mom and 'baby'. He's not as angry with 'baby' anymore so thier sort of stable.

    'The hardest button to button' might be his dad or something. Maybe he left the family when the mom was going to have the baby, that's why the started living in a old house. They had nowhere else to go. So his anger to 'baby' could be couped up from his dad. I dunno.

    But i thinkt he hardest button to button might mean 'hard to swallow'. It's hard to swallow that his dad is gone, or left. But he's just saying that alot it's hard to get over a parent gone(as hard as it is to button that top button) but still, you get over it (get it buttoned)

    I dunno. HE might have had a true story in this song, but changed the lyrics into these sort of silmiles and metaphors to makes sure we wouldn't figure this song out and thus, keep listening to try to figure it out. (jack you sly devil you ::wink wink::)
    sixedhearton November 11, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwell,i've read some of the comments already made,but none seem to describe my idea:that the song is about his childhood(Jack's or the fictional subject's).They were poor,his mom just gave birth and his dad left.His baby brother was crying and because they were going through hard times,he taught him to be tough(the doll pin-sticking part,which is a metaphor).Time went by and they learned to function as a family even though being left by their dad left marks."We don't know you and we don't owe you" is exactly about what they feel about him.And he says that even though they make ends meet they still think he did a despicable thing.And then he talks about how his father's abandonment changed his view of the world and how he didn't fit in.The backyard box could contain something that belonged to his father and which he buried as a sign of the impossibility of forgiveness.And his dad is the hardest button to button because he failed to do something he was expected and responsible of.
    I don't have any doubts that this is what it means(and i sincerely hope that these lyrics have meaning,as opposed to the Chili Pepper's-although i really like their music),except the fact that his tone and the way he's singing don't seem all that angry.That happens only in a few spots;the rest of the time it's sung like a song to rock on...
    I hope it's been an coherent comment,considering it's my first:I'm still up there,dubbed "the newest user".
    dispossessed_againon May 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti agree with cait the great's interpretation..makes sense to me..
    but then maybe we are all over thinking it and its just sposed to be a good song..
    i love it!
    daddys_girl24on October 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Just feel like you're the hardest button to button."

    Buttoning buttons... meaning putting them to place so that everything holds...so buttoning buttons in this song is finding a place for a person in the live..family is buttoning the buttons... it is like all the other siblings have a place (or have been forced to some place/job so they can support the family), but he feels like he is hardest one to button... meaning to be put in the place... (no wonder with his talent) the rest flows "I had opinions That didn't matter I had a brain That felt like pancake batter".. getting my idea?
    timetraderon December 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about the eighties. The song is so weird and colorful, it sounds like eighties shit. Then the whole ray gun, with the dumb science fiction obsession. I don't know, whatever. Either that or a big brother who hates his little brother...
    Punk23on August 08, 2010   Link

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