Anthony Fantano

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Anthony Fantano
The Needle Drop (2010) (cropped).jpg
Personal information
Born (1985-10-28) October 28, 1985 (age 33)
ResidenceMiddletown, Connecticut, U.S.
OccupationMusic journalist
YouTube information
Also known asCal Chuchesta[1]
Years active2007–present
Subscribers1.72 million
Total views412.5 million
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2012
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2017
The Needle Drop
Type of site
Music reviewing
Available inEnglish
Created byAnthony Fantano
Alexa rankIncrease 51,991 (May 2018)[4]
Launched2007; 12 years ago (2007)
Current statusActive
Subscriber and view counts updated as of December 13, 2018.

Anthony Fantano (/fænˈtæn/; born October 28, 1985) is an American music critic, video producer and journalist best known for creating The Needle Drop, a music-related video blog. He is self-described as "the internet's busiest music nerd".[5] Fantano's website and YouTube channel review a variety of music genres, including pop, hip hop, rock, metal, indie, electronic, folk, jazz and experimental.

Early life[edit]

Fantano grew up in Connecticut and spent his teenage years in Wolcott.[6] As a child he 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, Bob's Burgers, and Regular Show.[7]


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 onto a lot of different styles, and got me pushing my tastes into different areas".[8] In 2007, Fantano started working at Connecticut Public Radio in which he hosted The Needle Drop.[9] That same year, he launched The Needle Drop in text reviews, eventually starting as video reviews in 2009. At the time, he was working on The Needle Drop at the college radio station, as well as at a pizza restaurant. In late 2011, he decided to pursue The Needle Drop full-time.[8][10]

He was interviewed at SXSW in 2011 about the rise of music vlogging, along with Matt Galloway of the Rock It Out! blog and Michael Roffman, president and editor-in-chief of Consequence of Sound.[11] In March 2011, he was featured in an article from The Guardian also about the rise of music vlogging.[12]

The Needle Drop won the 2011 O Music Awards in the "Beyond the Blog" category.[13][third-party source needed]

Response from other media[edit]

In October 2017, Fantano was accused of promoting alt-right and racist sentiments in videos on his secondary YouTube channel "thatistheplan" in an article by music magazine The Fader, which criticized Fantano for the use of Pepe the Frog memes (which was recently labeled for being an alt-right symbol), targeting feminists, and belittling the work of black musicians. [14] Fantano uploaded a video to The Needle Drop YouTube channel in response, claiming that the article was a "hit job" and that the videos in question were "satirical". He disputed the idea that he had aligned himself with the far right, claiming that his videos actually have a "pretty obvious liberal slant" and responded to accusations of racism stating that he had "harshly critiqued and clowned on white artists and rock musicians in the past". He also posted on social media his displeasure with future edits of the article, including one claiming he laughed at a description of the murder and rape of a woman being changed to "violence towards a woman," after the video.[15] The article was later deleted by The Fader.[16]

When asked about the merits of Fantano's reviews, Robert Christgau said in 2019, "he seems to have arrived at a plausible brand of 21st-century rockcrit taste that runs toward what I'll call dark prog--the godfathering Swans, this year's number one Daughters, on the rap end his beloved Death Grips. But clearly he's broader than that. Little apparent interest in the pop end or indeed tune or indeed fun, however--always a tragic and psychologically revealing lacuna. Nowhere near as insensible to hip-hop/r&b as dark proggers tend to be, but note that very few female artists crack his top 10s, which in 2018 was really missing the action. Fantano seems to have figured out a way to make some kind of living by disseminating his own criticism in the online age. That's an achievement."[17]

Personal life[edit]

Fantano lives in Middletown, Connecticut. He is a vegan, having grown into the diet since becoming vegetarian around 18–19.[8] He is married to his wife Dominique Boxley.[18][6]

Politically, Fantano is an anti-war social democrat.[19] He supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour as a "living wage"[20] as well as single-payer healthcare.[21] He identifies as an atheist.[22]

Reviews and ratings[edit]

Fantano rates albums and tracks on a scale from 0 to 10, with an accompanying adjective, either "light", "decent", or "strong", for further qualification of its score. Occasionally he will do parody reviews of albums such as I'm Gay (I'm Happy) by Lil B[‡ 1] and Born This Way by Lady Gaga[‡ 2]. Fantano has only given five perfect 10/10 ratings in his reviews so far (The Money Store by Death Grips, To Be Kind by Swans, To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar, Kids See Ghosts' self-titled album, and You Won't Get What You Want by Daughters). Additionally, Fantano will also review albums that are considered "classic" music releases. These are reviewed without a rating during a yearly segment known as Classics Week. Also during Classics Week is another segment called Lists Week in which Fantano lists his top albums of the year as well his worst albums of the year, this segment traditionally happens near the end of the year.

In July 2016, a new rating dubbed "Not Good" was introduced, which is not based on a numeric score and is assigned to albums which Fantano does not feel like giving a proper negative review on.[‡ 3] The first album to receive the rating was Desiigner's New English.[‡ 4] He also did a near-unedited 50-minute "Not Good" review of Angelic 2 the Core by Corey Feldman, in which he dubbed the album the worst of 2016.[‡ 5]



  • Taiga (2009 as bass player) [23][24]
  • Anthony FanFiction Vol.1 (2015)
  • The New CALassic (2015, as Cal Chuchesta)


  • Cal 2 B (2013, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • Mykey Come Back (2015, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • Panda (Remix) ft. Pink Guy & NFKRZ (2016, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • Coin Star (2018, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • Don't Talk To Me ft. Fellatia Geisha (2018, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • Slap Chop (2018, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • On Deck Freestyle (2018, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • I'm In the Club (Lookin' For Some Love) ft. Joycie (2018, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • Advice ft. Rob Scallon (2018, as Cal Chuchesta)


  • $CALxTAPExONE$ (2013, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • ∆CALxTAPExTWO∆ (2013, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • #CALxTAPExTHREE# (2013, as Cal Chuchesta)


  1. ^ "Interview: Anthony Fantano (The Needle Drop)". The Mancunion. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  2. ^ thatistheplan (2017-10-03), terminated, retrieved 2017-10-22
  3. ^ "A Primer On The Almighty Shitstorm Surrounding The Needle Drop's Anthony Fantano". Junkee Media. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  4. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  5. ^ Veronin, Nick. "The Hardest Working Critic in Show Business Never Stops Hunting for New Music"., February 18, 2014
  6. ^ a b Gordon, Jeremy (November 30, 2016). "How Anthony Fantano, aka The Needle Drop, Became Today's Most Successful Music Critic | SPIN". Spin. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  7. ^ (I)NTERVIEW: Anthony Fantano. YouTube. January 15, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Elabbady, Ali (October 30, 2013). "Interview: Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop". Green Room. United States. Archived from the original on May 26, 2014.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Anthony Chuchesta Wants to Turn You On". Consequence of Sound. October 9, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  11. ^ "Interview at SXSW".
  12. ^ Jonze, Tim (March 18, 2011). "SXSW 2011: The rise of the music vlogger". London. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  13. ^ "O Music Awards Take Over Halloween's Largest Street Party". MTV News (Press release). 1 November 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Popular music vlogger accused of promoting alt-right sentiment - NME". NME. 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  15. ^ "Nothony Meatano on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  16. ^ "Fader Removes Article Amid Settlement With Anthony Fantano". Spin. 2018-03-21. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 15, 2019). "Xgau Sez". Archived from the original on January 15, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  18. ^ "Wayback Machine". 2015-06-11. Archived from the original on 2015-06-11. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  19. ^ Fantano, Anthony [@theneedledrop] (June 27, 2018). "wrong. a social democratic shift is what this country needs. enjoy being wrong" (Tweet). Retrieved September 9, 2018 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ Fantano, Anthony [@theneedledrop] (June 7, 2017). "😂😂Atlanta has to go out and vote😂😂 Karen Handel: "I do not support a livable wage"" (Tweet). Retrieved September 9, 2018 – via Twitter.
  21. ^ Fantano, Anthony [@theneedledrop] (May 9, 2017). "If Dems put as much effort into healthcare as they do RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA, we'd have single payer by now" (Tweet). Retrieved September 9, 2018 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ fantano (2018-11-05), LET'S ARGUE: Greta Van Fleet DOESN'T Sound Like Led Zeppelin, retrieved 2018-11-06
  23. ^
  24. ^

Primary sources[edit]

In the text these references are preceded by a double dagger (‡):

  1. ^ "Lil B- I'm Gay (I'm Happy) ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "Lady Gaga- Born This Way ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. May 24, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  3. ^ "NOT GOOD". The Needle Drop. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  4. ^ "Desiigner's New English: NOT GOOD". The Needle Drop. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  5. ^ "THE WORST ALBUM OF 2016 (Corey Feldman's Angelic 2 the Core) [NOT GOOD]". The Needle Drop. Retrieved October 6, 2016.

External links[edit]