There’s a song which was probably out about three years ago. A lot of the lines begin ‘when the’. It is a male singer and I’ve got this feeling it was used on the ITV talent shows, but whether it was just popular to be used at that time I’m not sure. I thought it might be someone like Bruno Mars but it doesn’t seem to be. When I hear the song, I cannot make out the lyrics, so cannot do a typical search. I know that the word ‘snow’ comes up and the phrase ‘never gonna’. This is driving me nuts – any help or ideas appreciated.
This is a particularly tough “name that song” because as you acknowledge, you don’t have any lyrics or a singer. Having a genre or style is only of limited value, but there are a lot of lyrics databases online so perhaps there’s a way to figure things out. Or, perhaps not.
To start, I always think about different ways I could phrase a query to Google. Since this is a lyrics search, the word “lyrics” should be in the search, but what’s particularly tough is that “when the” are what’s known in Google parlance as stop words: they are considered unimportant parts of a search query and automatically removed. Which leaves us with nothing. Well, maybe not quite nothing, because if we quote the words, that might force them to be included in the search.
My first stab is this search:
307,000 results. Not very helpful. If you’re right that it’s from three years ago, that would put the release date at 2016. Adding that one value, however, completely baffles Google and the results suddenly are just about songs from 2016, ignoring lyrics and everything else.
Another possibility is Lyrics on Demand, a customized search engine. Good data, but an ugly interface so instead we’re going to actually still use Google, but constraining results to lyrics on demand by doing this search:
With a total of only 37 results, you might just be able to find what you want in that set of search results. I hope.
As I said, there are some really cool ways you can find lyrics or identify songs – or singers – if you know fragments of a song but obviously, the more information you have, the better.
One other factor working against you is that most of the really good music information database sites like Gracenote.com have now shut down public access, instead licensing their database to companies like Toyota for your in-car music experience. Good from a business perspective, but not so good for us users.
Your best bet: Try to use a service like Shazam to ID a song when you hear it or just ask your Amazon Echo “alexa, what song is this?” or even your iPhone “hey siri, what song is this?” and it’ll identify the currently playing music automatically.