I Finally Found the Song I've Spent Years Searching For

Last Saturday, I asked you to name the one thing you keep searching for online, but can't find. The question was inspired by my unsuccessful three-year search for a song I'd heard once on a college radio station. Serendipitously, I stumbled across it this week—and hearing it again sent shivers up my spine. Here it is.

I first heard this song, "Black Hills" by Gardens and Villa, on a back-country road trip in the summer of 2011. The college radio DJ never mentioned the artist or title, but something about it stuck with me. The bass line, the radar-ping echo of the guitar, and the word "sunlight" in the chorus stuck out in my mind, and I scoured the internet to find it.


Try Googling "song with 'sunlight' in the chorus" and see what you get. It's immensely unhelpful.

Ever since that day in 2011, I've repeatedly tried searching for the song. No matter what search engine or query I tried, I came up blank. Then, out of the blue, I was listening to an internet radio station at work this week and the song came on. It was like a sucker-punch of deja vu, and for about 15 seconds I was blasted back to that country road in rural Pennsylvania in the summer of 2011.

Luckily, I gathered my senses with enough time to fire up SoundHound. Gotcha!

Judging by last week's response, tons of you have had the same experience, whether it's a song, a book, a movie, or a bit of family history you're seeking out. Some of your stories were particularly haunting, like Freddie DeBoer's search for a letter his local newspaper published after his father's death, or Illuminaughti2's heart-wrenching tale of a long-lost old crush.


I really hope you find the internet white whale you're looking for. But if my experience is any indicator, maybe searching harder isn't the trick. Maybe you've got to let that thing you're seeking come to you.

Just make sure you've got SoundHound loaded and ready.


What's The One Thing You Keep Searching For But Can't Find Online?

On a road trip about four years ago, I heard this great song on the radio. It was unique, catchy, and it stuck in my head. Ever since, despite Googling the lyrics, humming the melody to SoundHound, and poring over Youtube, I still can't identify it. It's my internet white whale. What's yours?

The weird thing about living in the internet age is that it makes you think nothing is un-findable. Just string together the right search terms, comb through the right websites, and you're bound to find what you seek, right? Theoretically, maybe. But I'm willing to bet you've got snippets from movies or TV shows, bits of music, or photos or articles you can remember, but just can't seem to locate. Tell us about your internet white whales. In here, you can call us all Ishmael.


Image: Shutterstock / ollyy