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"The LostWave Mystery: The Search for 'Everyone Knows That'

20 seconds that captivated the internet

Imagine you’re out in public and you hear a song that you enjoy but don’t recognize. For some, they’ll ask a friend. For others, they’ll use an app such as Shazam to track the song down. And if that doesn’t work, the most dedicated will turn to online forums to see if anybody has heard of the track. But what happens when none of the above helps you find the song?

Then you may have stumbled upon a new example of LostWave.

Modern users of the internet may be aware of phrases such as “nothing leaves the internet,” or

implications that once information is out there, it’s impossible to wipe. However, in some cases, this is far from the truth. In reality, not everything that is created is saved. There are countless stories of pieces of media that have gone missing, with entire communities that exist to find them. Music is one of the biggest examples. Dubbed “Lostwave,” this online community found in subreddits and discord servers exists to track down pieces of music that have unclear origins. And one of the biggest examples of this phenomena is the 21 second clip dubbed “Everyone Knows That.”

Is Everyone Knows That the actual song title?

"No, we don't know the song title. Most people call it either Everyone Knows That or Ulterior Motives based on the lyrics we think we can hear."

In 2021, a user going by the alias carl92 made a post to a music forum called “WhatsZatSong.” The post read as follows:

“Mid-80s. Bad Quality.”

This simple post alongside a 21 second audio clip would spark a search that has been spanning two years, hundreds of threads across dozens of websites, thousands of active searchers and countless false leads.

The track itself is an upbeat pop tune that many describe as familiar sounding due to its similar pop production to many songs from the era of 80s. The lyrics are noticeably hard to understand until it goes into what many think is the chorus of the song- the titular “Everyone Knows That.” The song is muddied by a buzzing tone and low quality, most likely having been recorded in a room with a speaker. 

This small snippet has exploded in popularity. Thousands of videos have circulated apps such as TikTok, and it’s been seen as a representation of sorts for the entire Lostwave community. The track has become such a cultural force it’s even being used as sounds on TikTok by people unaware of the search. And despite all of that, the song remains unfound. No information is available beyond the clip. 

It’s definitely not from a lack of trying; there are thousands of people actively searching for this song. When a track cannot be identified through traditional means, investigators must search for different information.

For example, the drum machine used in the song has been identified as a Lindrum, a machine famous for its use in the 80s, and was manufactured from 1983-1985. The original file date of 1999 from the computer carl92 recorded the song from was extracted. People have also analyzed the waveforms of the audio file through a spectrogram. All to no avail. 

While initially helpful, with responses and further clarification, carl92 has abandoned the internet after being swarmed with people asking for personal information. With the main source of information gone, and the search getting older, the song began fading from the Lostwave community. These days, while the search is still ongoing, the song has almost reached mythical status within the community. 

Recently, a large handful of other unidentified songs that had been circulating on Reddit were discovered. Tracks such as "Just Passin By," by the band Big Picture were found in full with a title, and all that search had to go on was a three second clip of a music video accidentally taped over a home movie on a VHS. 

Everyone Knows That is an enigmatic song for many reasons, and the more we learn about it, the less clear the search becomes. Many wonder why such a large following spend their time looking for an old song nobody has heard since the 80s. And, while I can't speak for everyone, these examples of media lost to time is absolutely fascinating, and hold a unique sense of mystery in a digital space.

As unlikely as it is, if this song sounds familiar to anyone reading this, you can contact the lostwave subreddit and see if you can help with the search. As for now, the 20 sec clip sits alone, just waiting for the rest of it to be discovered somewhere.


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