In the June 28, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone, Jack White explained: "That started on an acoustic guitar - it became an idea to use as many different styles of the blues as I could in one song. It goes from the really screeching, distorted, heavy blues sound, to an almost wimpy Wurlitzer kind of loungey blues sound, to white-boy takes on the blues, to real earthy, country blues."
Guitar World magazine (August 2007) asked Jack White about the red-headed woman that appears in this song as well as in other songs on the album - the scarlett woman, the temptress. White explained: "I guess that's always been there in my songs. There's this Mexican folktale of La Llorana, the crying woman, who is sometimes a redhead as well. There's these figureheads when you're writing songs, and you can base things off them. On Get Behind Me Satan, the redhead was [Forties actress] Rita Hayworth. I think redheads are most compelling when I'm writing, because they're so different and some cultures find them evil or are scared of them. Some cultures make fun of redheads when they're kids. They just seem a little bit left of center and a lot more interesting to talk about. The easy thing would be to write about a blonde bombshell in a song. 'Blondes have more fun.' That might be the first choice for a lot of songwriters."
"In a lot of these songs, the characters are at some kind of turning point in their lives," Jack explained, "one of those moments when they're taking a deep breath and saying, 'Hey, I don't have much time on this earth. Maybe I should think about some of this stuff.' There are all these fundamental questions: Why do you bother getting up in the morning? How much should you care about other people and how much should you care about yourself? How considerate should you be? And how much should you just look out for your own self. These characters are trying to find some kind purpose for what they do on a daily basis. You know, it's sometimes hard to get a perspective on this when you're surrounded by people in the music business and on tour all the time. Rock and roll is not really known for its great examples of human decency."
Jack explained how this song has a ghost-like theme: "I think I'm one of those guys who has a hard time blowing people off. I envy those people who can say, 'So and so is a jerk. Forget him.' My problem is I can't forget. If I say, 'So and so is a jerk. Forget him,' then I sit and think about him all the time. That's something I've always tried to figure out. What should I do about that? Those people are ghosts. They just stick around. But I like these ghosts, because they compel me to write about them and try to explore whether I should care or not. It's kind of hard to make a ghost go away." White added: "I don't really know if I believe in ghosts, but I'm always fascinated by people who say, 'There's this ghost that lives in my house. Oh well, there's nothing I can do about it. Just have to make the best of it.' It must be funny to be at the point where you're having breakfast sitting next to this ghost, to be actually forced to live with your demons instead of ignoring them." White concluded: "Maybe [these ghosts] are all me. Or maybe they're all this character in the song. Again, it comes down to these choices people have to make. When you wake up the morning, what kind of people are you going to present to the world? You have the choice to fulfill your own needs, or to be polite and fulfill other people's needs, or to find some balance between both. I always think, What if you absolutely knew for a fact that, when you die, there's no afterlife at all? How would you live your life in that case? I think my life would be different if I resolved that I'm only going to live for myself, or that I'm gonna live only for other people. But I guess that's a daily choice we all make." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 3)