The other night, I was grooving to the song High Voltage by AC/DC. It’s a killer track from the band’s classic era and has some very simple but wickedly clever (and catchy) vocal harmonies in the chorus. For the uninitiated, the band’s original singer, Bon Scott , was a truly amazing performer. His voice lives in the higher registers and, like many aspects of AC/DC’s early music, what he sings is deceptively complex.
I have always had good vocal control, but hitting higher notes, particularly in Bon Scott’s range, has generally been difficult for me. Over the last couple of years, I have worked a lot on my singing and have gained a lot of ground. So… inspired in the moment and feeling confident, I opened Google Chrome on my smartphone to pull up the lyrics to the song so I could follow along and lead appropriately in to those really high “high voltage!” lines in the chorus that are so difficult but satisfying to hit.
I typed in “High Voltage lyrics” and was a little pissed to find that a different song with the same name came up from the band Linkin Park:
This is not even one of Linkin Park’s more popular songs, nor was it a single, yet it’s favored in search results over AC/DC’s High Voltage!?? I understand times change, and fads come and go like the turning of the tide, but something ain’t quite right here.
What might Google’s algorithms be doing? It should be easy to make the argument that AC/DC’s song is more culturally significant than Linkin Park’s song: one was a hit single and the other was not. AC/DC is also a bigger band than Linkin Park with the former selling many tens of millions of albums more than the latter. Linkin Park has certainly been more active and relevant in the last two decades, so perhaps that’s why it is receiving preference.
Well, whatever… the point is Linkin Park sucks a fatty compared to 70s-era AC/DC, make no bones about it. If Linkin Park was somehow supposed to usurp the claim to the “High Voltage” song title then the band failed miserably, despite Google favoring it. By the same token, if any other band is ever going to try to build a stronger association between that song title and their band name then they really have their fucking work cut out for them.
It’s also worth noting that Google isn’t meritocratic in its search results—give people what they want and not what they need (yes, you really do need Bon Scott’s AC/DC). Meanwhile, bury the splendidness of the past if it’s less likely to make a buck in the present.