The 2015 Howl And Echoes Anti-Awards

If you’ve followed Howl And Echoes lately you’d have seen us celebrating the very best of 2015, both in albums and in songs. And while we love to cover the good, the natural balance of the universe dictates that we must also cover the bad. The very, very bad. The unprecedentedly awful. The ludicrously tragic. The shamelessly godawful. To that end we shoved a pair of radiation-resistant gloves on, plumbed the very bottom of 2015’s musical barrel and fished out all of the horrors within. And, now for the second year running, we gave them our very own Anti-Awards for their universally-recognised contributions to the field of being absolutely shit.

And in 2015 the awards go to…

The Lou Bega Award for debut release that should also be a last release

Meghan Trainor – Title

Meghan Trainor and her foully simpering brand of pop music for people who hate themselves unforgivingly kind of just came out of nowhere earlier this year, and with all the excitement and whimsy of a kick in the dick too.

To put it as nicely as possible, Meghan Trainor’s debut record Title is a Minions meme of an album, full of misery and nitwit lyrics screamed at you by the tone-deaf scorpions inhabiting her skin and giving her sentience. Dear Future Husband, as we’ve been over earlier this year, is an appalling waste of studio time. She somehow ensnared John Legend to perform on Like I’m Gonna Lose You, and All About That Bass going to number one reminded us that there is real cruelty in this world.

There isn’t enough Mortein and fire in the universe to kill the carnivorous plague of locusts that issue forth from Meghan Trainor’s mouth every time she opens it to sing.

“Dear future husbaaaaand!”

The Stupidest Collaboration of the Year (presented by Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger)

Holy dick were there some taste-defying team-ups by artists this year. This award could have had its own separate article.

We had Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea unite to raise awareness of dumpster fires by creating one of their own, caterwauling over the top of each other on Pretty Girls.

We had Simple Plan and Nelly unite to raise awareness of the abject poverty of their respective careers in a world where 2005 was 10 years ago. Indisputable proof that record label executives are capable of ideas more insane than your average bridge-dwelling hobo who argues with his tin cans.

We had Waka Flocka Flame and Good Charlotte bring their hysterically flaccid attempts at both rap and punk rock together for a song that was somehow worse than the 21st century Adam Sandler movie it was tied to.

But the one that hurt and confused us the most was none other than Bad Blood, wherein Taylor Swift tries her absolute damndest to ruin Kendrick Lamar.


Oh we get the reasons why this collaboration happened. The first is money, the second is that there is barely a thing Kendrick Lamar can touch that won’t turn to diamond encrusted amazing, and the third is money. This was supposed to be some kind of superheroic team-up of two artists at the pinnacle of their careers, the reigning Prince and Princess of rap and pop respectively. What it resulted in was the kind of fart that lingers in the room until you can taste it.

The track itself may not have been as abjectly talentless and horrible as some of the aforementioned collaborations, sure, but this one hurt us the most because of how good Kendrick had been to us. He was the chosen one, and he just strolled straight over to the dark side like it didn’t mean a thing.


Waiting for him over there on that dark side, like a grinning Emperor Palpatine who sings about nothing but bad relationships instead of shooting hand lightning, was Darth Jar Jar Swift.

‘Now let us never speak of it again’

Honourable Mention: Chris Brown and Tyga: Fan Of A Fan

Because honestly, fuck this mess almost as much.

The Birdman Award for Shittiest Contributions To Hip-Hop

Jack and Jack

I don’t have a problem with kids, but fuck these kids.

Jack and Jack is what happens when children aren’t raised with the fear of a wooden spoon behind them. After finding the spotlight the traditional way (with good old fashioned hard work and elbow grease on Vine), this Nebraskan duo shot to fame following the release of a four track EP Calibraska, a title so nonsensically gross I considered gouging my own eyes out just so I’d never have to see it again.

Unfortunately I left them in long enough to watch some of the accompanying music videos for their sackless Disney rap that has 12-year-old girls universally shrieking as though they’re on fire and anyone over 23 muttering like a less-xenophobic Gran Torino Clint Eastwood about how this next generation are all a bunch of fucks.

The big Jack looks like a less-educated version of Zac Efron. The little Jack looks like he’s avoided calcium his entire life. They’re AutoTuned to a frequency only T-Pain can hear and they rap like your little brother whining at you to buy him a goon sack for the Year 10 party. Like That is a particularly odious and thoroughly reptilian track full of intelligent rhymes about their nuts and all the ‘bitties’ they get. And yet this and the rest of their debut made the top of the fucking iTunes charts for all that is fuck sake.

Not only is it an ear-shrivelling abomination to rap music, but the music video sees them take the age-old hip-hop staple of pre-song clique banter, a bar that has been set so incredibly low already by people like DJ Khaled (who has made a far better career for himself as a motivational speaker) and Rick Ross and their respective entourages, and then somehow limbo just effortlessly under it with some of the worst chat to be thrown in the history of intelligent conversation. Watch:

My favourite line in the whole exchange is when one of these dipshits brags ‘I don’t even know where I was last night!’, an obviously bald-headed lie, which everyone in attendance somehow responds to in the kind of awed tones that would suggest he’d spent the previous night snorting lines off a switchblade in a toilet on Sunset Boulevard instead of what he was actually doing: sitting at home drinking cans of Mother and shouting at people on Call Of Duty because he’s clearly fucking 17.

The Internet is such a beautiful and terrifying creature, giving us instantaneous access to a limitless wealth of knowledge and information while simultaneously making shameless little fuckwits like this rich and famous.

Honourable Mention: Tech N9ne – Speedom

The Golden Stappy (for worst attempt at rock music)

Imagine Dragons

Back in the waking light of 2015 we detailed the albums nobody with a soul was looking forward to for the year. Imagine Dragons made that list for Smoke + Mirrors, an LP that fans of rock and roll who were older than 15 were anticipating as highly as their next root canal. Imagine Dragons are the type of band that make Gene Simmons look like an all-seeing prophet when he stumbles out of his mouldy crypt every few years to proclaim rock and roll is dead.

Calling it cardboard bland would be an insult to cardboard. At least cardboard has a whole lot of practical uses that don’t solely involve sports highlight videos. The whole Smoke + Mirrors album was as big and dumb as it gets, the special edition deluxe version coming encased in its own layer of Cheeto dust (probably). Imagine Dragons? I’m imagining a world where their miserable corporate wuss rock doesn’t exist.

Honourable Mention: The Wombats

The Zac Efron Award for Shittiest Contributions to EDM


Just look at the sheer, unadulterated smugness contained in the above photo and try not to choke on your own rage. Some would argue that there are worse EDM artists out there than Diplo. And no, I haven’t forgotten that this is a universe where Tiesto exists against the collective will of everyone, a man who on a sonic level arguably produces much worse music.

“Everybody in the house who hates their ears tonight make some noi-oise!”

That said, Diplo’s music (and there’s a lot of it considering he has his miserable little fingers in seemingly every pie on the planet) is still largely mind-numbingly gormless in itself, beloved by shirtless assholes at music festivals and people who want nothing to do with anything even remotely resembling ‘good’ the world over. That entire Jack Ü album might have been the first documented recording of a sentient, screeching piece of shit and was utterly fucking atrocious (though Skrillex does take 50% of the credit there), continuing to enable the inexplicable career of 2 Chainz and adding way too much unnecessary steam to Justin Bieber’s resurrection.

That’s not the reason he gets this award though, because you can now add unapologetic misogyny and also intellectual property theft to his ever-expanding resume of terrible. In February he stole the shit out of someone who wasn’t Diplo’s artwork, the hard work and fruit of her labours, then when called out about it had these enlightening and well thought out Tweets to deliver on the matter:

Well, what a nice fellow.

When life gives you fame and fortune you don’t deserve Diplo, the best thing to do is to not be a complete and utter bucket of fuck about it, you unfathomable asshole.

The Tom Six Award for Worst Music Video

The Kardashians – She Loves Her Friends

Sweet merciful crap. The collective talents of everyone involved in the making of this… this toxic horror… wouldn’t fill a thimble. That didn’t stop everyone’s favourite undeservedly celebrated family giving this old music video business thing a red hot go. And honestly, how hard could it really be for a group of people who became the most famous in the world off the back of a sex tape?

This is bad on an avant-garde level. Made in honour of matriarch Kris’ 60th birthday and in homage to a Greek tragedy of a music video she made herself back before she resembled a Fallout ghoul in both features and personality, her daughters manage to accomplish a Christmas miracle in somehow making a Randy Newman song even more tone-deaf and cringeworthy, with convertible dancing awkwardly forced enough to make your eyes shrivel into their sockets.

Like this only… only worse?

If you fast forward to about the 2:20 mark you’ll see my absolute favourite thing in this:

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 2.38.54 pm

Just look at Kanye’s sad, lifeless eyes, crying out in vain for mercy as he’s forced against his almighty will into participating in this utter drivel. Here’s a self-professed God, Yeezus Christ, being strongarmed by his wife into doing something lame and shitty and so totally beneath him for his mother-in-law and his eyes tell the whole sad story.

Did I say worst? I meant best.

Honourable Mention: Simple Plan and Nelly – I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed.

Never forget

The Undisputed Heavyweight Worst Album of the Year:

5 Seconds Of Summer – Sounds Good Feels Good

Atrocious. Incomphrehensibly, irretrievably atrocious. The only holdovers from last year’s winners and for absolutely good reason. Not just content with being the worst band Australia has ever produced, 5SOS proceeded to lurk in the shadows, watching the reigning Shit-Eating Champions One Direction and all the ups and downs of their 2015 and deciding this was their time to capitalise.

They dropped their sophomore album Sounds Good Feels Good, an effort that rails entirely against both of these things, in late October after what seemed like a neverending stream of singles nobody but howling mad tweens or those utterly destitute of taste ever wanted.

They tackled all the big contemporary issues in this one, with thought-provoking, right in the feels hits like She’s Kinda Hot, Permanent Vacation, Jet Black Heart, and of course who could forget the Duran Duran bastardising, musical pinnacle of Hey Everybody!

Time to get as far away from the lawn as possible, 5SOS. You’re a quartet of miserable, infuriatingly grating twats who peddle in sub-musical ipecac.

Half of you look like my girlfriend from her The Black Parade high school era. If Sounds Good Feels Good were a living human it’d be the type of person who demands their steaks be cooked well done. The type of person who enjoys lime milkshakes. The type of person who doesn’t give a courtesy wave when someone lets them merge lanes. The type of person who posts those copy and paste ‘I want to see who actually reads my statuses’ Facebook statuses. The type of person who says ‘aks’ instead of ‘ask’ and spells it ‘defiantly’ instead of ‘definitely’, when you know they must have seen that word a million times in their lives. The type of chronically abysmal human being who has reached adulthood and still gives out ‘pinch and a punches’ on the 1st of the month

Sounds Good Feels Good is an absolute germ of an album is what we’re trying to say.

And listening to it for long enough will leave you covered in them (probably)

The Crazy Frog Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Irritatingly Shitty Songs (the worst song of 2015)

Silentó Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)

“Somewhere in America, Soulja Boy sat bolt upright. Several bullets of sweat formed on his untalented forehead, making the poor life decisions permanently inked there glisten as he tried feverishly to process what he was hearing over the deafening loud of his weed.

His premium TIDAL subscription blared through a leopard-print aux cord in the background, the noise a high-pitched cacophony of nonsense words and repeated-to-the-point-of-insanity dance instructions over an insipid hip hop backbeat. Soulja gasped at every whip, swooned at every nae nae. This was everything.

His mind raced; if this was 2005 this kid would merely have the polyphonic ringtone market by the balls, but it was now 2015 and the possibilities were limitless. The remixes! The Vines! The meeeeeeeemes! Think of the memes! Everyone you went to school with who is now terrible on social media beating the holy shit out of this horse until it was deader than Phar Lap! A fucking goldmine!

There’s a special corner in Hell reserved for anyone who posted this.

That’s the glory this hymn from heaven was about to achieve, and Soulja Boy could see it all unfolding before his very eyes, now glazed over with fresh childlike wonder to juxtapose their usual constant of smug self-entitlement.

He strode to the window and checked on the open grave in his backyard, something he had done every day since it had happened. Truth be told he had been a nervous wreck ever since that Kendrick Lamar guy had liberated the decaying corpse of rap from where Soulja had fought the good fight and rightfully buried it. He thought he had put that no good bastard down forever back in ‘07 and he was worried sick it was alive and well again thanks to this untalented asshole Lamar, whoever he was.

Now he knew: it was back in the cold, corporate ground where it belonged and the relief washed over him in paralysing waves. He had no idea who this Silentó was, but by God, the kid had done it. He had really done it.

Pictured: the absolute zenith

Soulja slumped back into his endangered rhinoceros leather chair, removing his pure elephant ivory spectacles from his idiot face and rubbing the bridge of his nose. His left leg now compound fractured as a result of being at full stanky, he was exhilarated. Somewhere in one of the furthest corners of his feeble mind, he thought he could hear the strains of Crank Dat playing, but it was now faint and fading, like the sun finally setting on a long and arduous day. He reached into the nearest drawer and pulled out a cigar he had been saving for a very long time, lighting it up using a stack of sweet royalty c-notes. A smile broke his pointless features.

“The torch had been passed”

Honourable Mention: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Downtown

The Martin Shkreli Award for the absolute worst person in the music industry

Chris Brown

It is our absolute displeasure to induct one Christopher Maurice Brown into the Howl and Echoes Hall of Shame for being the absolute worst person in music for 2015.

Breezy wins this one by a country mile and a landslide for his thoroughly pitiful and misguided efforts at simply existing throughout this calendar year. From piggybacking off the death of Tupac Shakur, to smugly declaring his intentions to tour Australia, only to then have his visa hilariously revoked and his tour cancelled (to a chorus of butthurt Chris Brown fans voicing their offensive rage on social media) after people very swiftly cottoned on to just how shitty an idea that was, only for Chris to suggest a totally reasonable compromise of letting him into the country if he as allowed to raise awareness of domestic violence while he was here (an idea somehow even more shitty than letting him in in the first place).

Brown also released the aforementioned Fan Of A Fan with Tyga in an effort to find someone almost as terrible as he was to collaborate with, an album the army is still trying to kill with fire, as well as being on the eve of dropping another solo album not one person who is good and pure has any intention of purchasing, December 18th’s Royalty. In his spare time, Brown has featured on anything and everything he can get his witless talons on, ruining all of them with his mere presence.

*Shudders uncontrollably*

For being undisputedly the worst, most heinous, most self-promoting individual. For being a man who is limitless in poor taste, stupidity and overall dreadfulness, a man who comes from the absolute shallowest end of the human gene pool we have ever witnessed, we welcome Chris Brown into the Hall of Shame.

Now fuck off outta here Chris.

Honourable Mention: Chrissie Hynde

And that’s it for another star-studded year at the Anti-Awards! The after-party is a David Guetta set on Pitbull’s yacht MC’d by Redfoo. Until next year!