The Needle Drop

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The Needle Drop
The Needle Drop Logo
Web address
Slogan "The Internet's Busiest Music Nerd,"
Commercial? No
Type of site
Music reviewing
Available in English
Created by Anthony Fantano
Launched 2007 (text reviews)
2009 (video reviews)
Alexa rank
Increase 170,962 (October 2015)[1]
Current status Active

The Needle Drop is a blog/vlog created and run by Anthony Fantano /fænˈtæn/ (born October 28, 1985), self-described as "the Internet's Busiest Music Nerd",[2] in which he examines "rock, pop, electronic, metal, hip hop and experimental music" via video and audio reviews. The blog started in the fall of 2007, with video reviews beginning in February 2009. The blog reviews albums, individual songs in a segment called "Track Reviews" (stylized as "TRKRVWZ"), and occasionally a "Question of the Week" or list based video. His reviews often contain brief skits, usually involving his musically oblivious roommate, Cal Chuchesta (played by Fantano). Cal Chuchesta released a mixtape titled The New CALassic on August 18, 2015.[3]

The Needle Drop's YouTube channel currently has over 550,000 subscribers, and more than 105 million upload views.[4] The channel was voted as September 2011's 'On The Rise' contest winner,[5] a program by YouTube. His competitors were Pineapple Boy Productions, The Uncut Sports Show and Simple Kids Crafts.[6] In October 2011, Fantano won the 'Beyond the Blog' award at the MTV O Music Awards.[7] The logo art and website design was created by Juan Larrazabal.[8]

Background and history[edit]

Fantano grew up in Connecticut[9] and as a child had a desire to become a cartoonist, stating he was a fan of The Simpsons and that he still enjoys cartoons from today such as Adventure Time and Regular Show.[10] Fantano was introduced to independent music in the early 2000s which eventually influenced him to start The Needle Drop. "I had a friend of mine on Livejournal–lol, I know–back in the early 00s who used to do these long writeups about certain artists and she turned me on to a few that were pretty great. It made me want to do the same, share the musical experience on the internet. It didn’t really turn into "reviews" until I tried doing YouTube in 2009, which I only did as an experiment because my blog and podcast were making much traction at the time." Fantano started his career in the mid 2000s as a music director for the Southern Connecticut State University college radio station. He stated "I’ve always loved music, but working there got me turned in to a lot of different styles, and got me pushing my tastes into different areas".[11]

In 2007, Fantano started working at Connecticut Public Radio in which he hosted The Needle Drop.[12] That same year, Fantano also launched The Needle Drop in text reviews, eventually starting as video reviews in 2009. Fantano, at the time, was working on The Needle Drop, at the college radio station and at a pizza restaurant. In late 2011, Fantano decided to pursue The Needle Drop full-time and therefore, he had quit working at the pizza restaurant. "It wasn’t really a decision. It was just a matter of the show taking up so much of my time and making me enough money to sustain myself. I was quitting a job where I was cooking pizza, so it wasn’t that hard of a decision. I love the people who I used to work with, and I was working with a lot of them for ten years, but they understand this is my passion and my own thing that I have to pursue" he said.[8][11]

In 2011, Fantano was interviewed at SXSW about the rise of music vlogging, along with Sami Jarroush of the Rock It Out! Blog, and Michael Roffman, president and editor-in-chief of Consequence of Sound.[13] In March 2011, he was featured in an article from The Guardian also about the rise of music vlogging.[14] The Needle Drop is also an iTunes podcast [15] featuring artists and albums reviewed on The Needle Drop YouTube channel.

Personal life[edit]

Fantano is three quarters French Canadian and a quarter Sicilian.[16][17][18] Fantano is a vegan, having grown into the diet since becoming vegetarian around 18–19.[11]

The New CALassic[edit]

The New CALassic is the debut mixtape by Anthony Fantano's roommate, Cal Chuchesta. It was released on August 18, 2015 as a free digital download.

Anthony Fantano, himself, reviewed the mixtape and gave it a light 3; but, off camera, talked to Cal and agreed to giving it a strong 10.

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "intro" (featuring youaintpackinmeat) Cal 1:00
2. "hot dinner"   Jahlil Beats 3:46
3. "i was throwing up on a tuesday"   Cal 1:39
4. "cocoa (Remix)" (featuring Pink Guy and Filthy Frank) Cal 4:13
5. "doody's first message"   MisterDoodyHead 0:39
6. "parody"   Boi-1da, Frank Dukes, Nineteen85, Noah "40" Shebib 3:44
7. "be my bae bae"   Chuck Inglish 2:45
8. "sad boy"   FrankJavCee 2:51
9. "doody's second message"   MisterDoodyHead 0:26
10. "friend from the apple store"   88 Keys, DJ Don Cannon, Kanye West 2:32
11. "og radio interview" (featuring OG Radio and DJ Slice) OG Radio and DJ Slice 3:51
12. "cal the best"   L.E.S., Nile Rodgers, Trackmasters 3:35
13. "i am angry"   Brandon Thomas 3:30
14. "i need my friends" (featuring FrankJavCee, Frank Sakars, and 3Pac) Hit-Boy 6:33
Bonus Tracks
No. Title Producer(s) Length
15. "cocoa"   Cal 3:55
16. "cocoa (Nmesh's Whack Calzone Remix)"   Nmesh 9:52
Total length:
  • "cal the best" features uncredited vocals from OG Radio and DJ Slice.
  • "i need my friends" and "cocoa (Nmesh's Whack Calzone Remix)" features uncredited vocals from Anthony Fantano.

Notable reviews and ratings[edit]

Rating system[edit]

The blog rates albums and tracks on a scale from 0 to 10, with an accompanying adjective, either "light," "decent," or "strong," for further specification to its score. Occasionally he will do parody reviews of albums such as Born This Way by Lady Gaga,[19] Unknown Death 2002 by Yung Lean,[20] Mastermind by Rick Ross[21] and Dark Sky Paradise by Big Sean.[22]

Album of the Year (2009-)[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Top 5 Albums Ref.
2009 Fever Ray Fever Ray  Sweden [23]
2010 LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening  United States [24]
2011 Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues  United States [25]
2012 Death Grips The Money Store  United States [26]
2013 Tim Hecker Virgins  Canada [27]
2014 Swans To Be Kind  United States [28]

EP of the Year (2010-)[edit]

Year Artist EP Nation Ref.
2010 The Tallest Man on Earth Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird  Sweden [29]
2011 Nicolas Jaar Don't Break My Love  United States [30]
2012 TNGHT TNGHT  Canada
 United Kingdom
2013 Milo Things That Happen At Day  United States [32]
2014 Girl Talk & Freeway Broken Ankles  United States [33]

Single of the Year (2010-)[edit]

Year Artist Single Nation Ref.
2010 LCD Soundsystem "I Can Change"  United States [34]
2011 Fleet Foxes "Helplessness Blues"  United States [35]
2012 Death Grips "The Fever (Aye Aye)"  United States [36]
2013 The Knife "A Tooth for an Eye"  Sweden [37]
2014 Liars "Mess on a Mission"  United States [38]

Classic Album Reviews (2011-)[edit]

The following albums are considered "classic" music releases by The Needle Drop, reviewed on its YouTube channel during a yearly segment known as Classics Week:

Year Artist Album Nation Ref.
1964 Roland Kirk I Talk with the Spirits  United States [39]
1965 Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited[A]  United States [40]
1965 Nina Simone Pastel Blues  United States [41]
1967 The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & Nico  United States [42]
1968 Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison  United States [43]
1969 Frank Zappa Hot Rats  United States [44]
1969 King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King  United Kingdom [45]
1970 Miles Davis Bitches Brew  United States [46]
1971 Marvin Gaye What's Going On  United States [47]
1972 Yes Close to the Edge[A]  United Kingdom [48]
1974 Tangerine Dream Phaedra[A]  Germany [49]
1975 Patti Smith Horses[A]  United States [50]
1977 Kraftwerk Trans-Europe Express  Germany [51]
1979 Joy Division Unknown Pleasures  United Kingdom [52]
1982 Dead Kennedys Plastic Surgery Disasters  United States [53]
1982 Iron Maiden The Number of the Beast  United Kingdom [54]
1984 Prince & The Revolution Purple Rain  United States [55]
1985 Kate Bush Hounds of Love  United Kingdom [56]
1988 N.W.A Straight Outta Compton[A]  United States [57]
1990 Fugazi Repeater  United States [58]
1991 My Bloody Valentine Loveless  Ireland [59]
1991 A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory  United States [60]
1991 Slint Spiderland[A]  United States [61]
1993 Nirvana In Utero[A]  United States [62]
1993 Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)  United States [63]
1994 Nas Illmatic[B]  United States [64]
1996 DJ Shadow Endtroducing.....[A]  United States [65]
1998 Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane Over the Sea  United States [66]
2000 Godspeed You! Black Emperor Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven  Canada [67]
2001 The Microphones The Glow, Pt. 2[A]  United States [68]
2004 Madvillain Madvillainy  United States [69]
A Album that will be in the Classics Week segment at the end of the year, but was released early as a review only to be given to fans that donated at least $5 USD to The Needle Drop.[70]
B Album that will be in the Classics Week segment in the middle of next year, but was released early as a review only to be given to fans that donated at least $5 USD to The Needle Drop.[71]

Albums with a perfect rating[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Ref.
2012 Death Grips The Money Store  United States [72]
2014 Swans To Be Kind  United States [73]
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly  United States [74]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2015-10-30. 
  2. ^ Veronin, Nick. "The Hardest Working Critic in Show Business Never Stops Hunting for New Music"., 18 February 2014
  3. ^ "Cal Chuchesta - The New CALassic - Download and Stream - Audiomack". 
  4. ^ "Youtube channel". 
  5. ^ "'Success!' Video". 
  6. ^ Storbeck, Devon (September 15, 2011). "Introducing Your September 'On The Rise' Nominees post". 
  7. ^ "New Music Videos, Reality TV Shows, Celebrity News, Pop Culture - MTV". 
  8. ^ a b "Anthony Fantano Wants to Turn You On", Consequence of Sound
  9. ^ "Anthony Fantano about page on The Needle Drop website". 
  10. ^ (I)NTERVIEW: Anthony Fantano. YouTube. 15 January 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c Elabbady, Ali (1 October 2013). "Interview: Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop". United States. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Interview at SXSW". 
  14. ^ Jonze, Tim (18 March 2011). "The Guardian article". London. 
  15. ^ "The Needle Drop". 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Lady Gaga- Born This Way ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. May 24, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  20. ^ "Yung Lean - Unknown Death 2002 MIXTAPE REVIEW". The Needle Drop. July 17, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  21. ^ Rick Ross - Mastermind ALBUM REVIEW. YouTube. 9 March 2014. 
  22. ^ Big Sean - Dark Sky Paradise ALBUM REVIEW. YouTube. 24 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "Anthony Fantano's Top 15 Albums of 2009". 
  24. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2010". 
  25. ^ "Favorite Albums of 2011". 
  26. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2012". 
  27. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2013". 
  28. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2014". 
  29. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2010". 
  30. ^ "Favorite EPs of 2011". 
  31. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2012". 
  32. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2013". 
  33. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2014". 
  34. ^ "Top-50 Tracks / Songs of 2010". 
  35. ^ "Favorite Singles of 2011". 
  36. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2012". 
  37. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2013". 
  38. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2014". 
  39. ^ "Roland Kirk - I Talk With the Spirits ALBUM REVIEW". 
  40. ^ "Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited EARLY ACCESS CLASSIC REVIEW ANNOUNCEMENT!". 
  41. ^ "Nina Simone - Pastel Blues ALBUM REVIEW". 
  42. ^ "The Velvet Underground & Nico - Self-Titled ALBUM REVIEW". 
  43. ^ "Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison ALBUM REVIEW". 
  44. ^ "Frank Zappa- Hot Rats ALBUM REVIEW". 
  45. ^ "King Crimson- In the Court of the Crimson King ALBUM REVIEW". 
  46. ^ "Miles Davis- Bitches Brew ALBUM REVIEW". 
  47. ^ "Marvin Gaye- What's Going On". 
  48. ^ "Yes - Close To The Edge EARLY ACCESS REVIEW ANNOUNCEMENT!". 
  49. ^ "Tangerine Dream - Phaedra EXCLUSIVE CLASSIC REVIEW ALERT!!!". 
  50. ^ "CLASSIC REVIEW / SUPPORT ANNOUNCEMENT! (august 2015)". 
  51. ^ "Kraftwerk- Trans-Europe Express". 
  52. ^ "Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures ALBUM REVIEW". 
  53. ^ "Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters ALBUM REVIEW". 
  54. ^ "Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast ALBUM REVIEW". 
  55. ^ "Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain ALBUM REVIEW". 
  56. ^ "Kate Bush - Hounds of Love ALBUM REVIEW". 
  57. ^ "NWA - Straight Outta Compton EXCLUSIVE / EARLY ACCESS CLASSIC REVIEW ALERT!!!". 
  58. ^ "Fugazi - Repeater ALBUM REVIEW". 
  59. ^ "My Bloody Valentine- Loveless ALBUM REVIEW". 
  60. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest- The Low End Theory ALBUM REVIEW". 
  63. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan- Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers ALBUM REVIEW". 
  65. ^ "DJ Shadow - Endtroducing EARLY ACCESS CLASSIC REVIEW". 
  66. ^ "Neutral Milk Hotel- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea ALBUM REVIEW". 
  67. ^ "Godspeed You! Black Emperor- Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! ALBUM REVIEW". 
  69. ^ "Madvillain- Madvillainy ALBUM REVIEW". 
  70. ^ YouTube. 
  71. ^ YouTube. 
  72. ^ Fantano, Anthony (2012-04-23). "The Money Store Review". The Needle Drop. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  73. ^ "Swans - To Be Kind ALBUM REVIEW". 
  74. ^ "Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly ALBUM REVIEW". 

External links[edit]