KROQ 106.7 Los Angeles reported that a long-lost high school romance was the inspiration for this moody track. Frontman Tyler Glenn explained: "I drifted back to being 17 with my high school girlfriend in her parents' house when we weren't supposed to be in there because they were out of town. And we were dancing, and we used to buy strobe lights from party city and we put 'em on and we were dancing - I forget what we were dancing to. But basically that song was written about that time when me and her first started dating and realizing we were in love with each other. So, that song is about that intimate, maybe, 90 minutes of my life."
Guitarist Chris Allen explained how he achieved the unconventional melodies that compliment Glenn's emotional lyrics on the track. "I had a lot of fun experimenting with some tones on that one," he said. "I was determined to order these metal picks on line. Well, first I searched every guitar shop in the L.A.-area. I ended up trying an aluminium pick, and the tone just shows it. You couldn't get that sound with anything else."
Dido helped shut down a Neo-Nazi Web site after learning it was using "White Flag" to promote its hateful messages. Owners of the site had misinterpreted the track as racist and thought they represented their white supremacy views.