The Needle Drop

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The Needle Drop
Type of site
Music reviewing
Available in English
Created by Anthony Fantano
Slogan(s) The internet's busiest music nerd
Alexa rank Decrease 60,003 (February 2018)[1]
Commercial Yes
Launched 2007; 11 years ago (2007)
Current status Active

The Needle Drop (stylized as THENEEDLEDROP) is a music-related video blog created in 2007 by American critic, producer, journalist and Internet personality Anthony Fantano, self-described as "the Internet's busiest music nerd".[2] Although the blog was founded in 2007, video reviews began two years later.

The blog, although a website, is predominantly a YouTube channel. Fantano examines and reviews music through various releases and media (albums, extended plays (EPs), mixtapes, singles, soundtracks, compilations) across a variety of genres such as pop, rock, metal, indie and experimental. His reviews sometimes contain brief skits, usually involving his alter ego Cal Chuchesta, a musically oblivious man portrayed as Fantano's roommate.[3]

The channel was voted as September 2011's On The Rise contest winner,[4] a program by YouTube. In October 2011, Fantano won the Beyond the Blog award at the MTV O Music Awards.[5] The channel currently has over 1.26 million subscribers, and more than 301 million upload views.[‡ 1]

Anthony Fantano[edit]

Anthony Fantano
The Needle Drop (2010).jpg
Personal information
Born (1985-10-28) October 28, 1985 (age 32)
Wolcott, Connecticut,
United States
Nationality American
Occupation Music journalist
YouTube information
Also known as "Melon", "Thicc Vegan", "Melon Head", "Best Teeth in the Game", "___thony ___tano", "Antoine Fantoine"
Years active 2007–present
Subscribers 1.2 million+
Total views 301 million+
Catchphrase(s) "Internet's Busiest Music Nerd" "Best teeth in the game" "___thony ___tano"
Subscriber and view counts updated as of August 1, 2017.

Early life[edit]

Anthony Fantano (/fænˈtæn/; born October 28, 1985) grew up in Connecticut and spent his teenage years in Wolcott.[9] 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 and Regular Show.[10]

Fantano was introduced to independent music in the early 2000s which eventually influenced him to start The Needle Drop. He has said, "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 attended Southern Connecticut State University where he studied political science and journalism.[9]


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 into 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, he also 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, and at a pizza restaurant. In late 2011, he decided to pursue The Needle Drop full-time.[11][13]

In 2011, Fantano was interviewed at SXSW 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.[14] In March 2011, he was featured in an article from The Guardian also about the rise of music vlogging.[15]

The Needle Drop[edit]

Original logo for The Needle Drop, which is now defunct.

The blog The Needle Drop is a spin-off of a WNPR show of the same name.

A recurring character on The Needle Drop is Anthony Fantano's fictional musically oblivious and socially awkward roommate, Cal Chuchesta. Fantano, as Chuchesta, released a comedic mixtape, The New CALassic, on August 18, 2015, as a free digital download.[16] Fantano later reviewed the mixtape on August 19, 2015, and rated it a light 3. At the end of the review Chuchesta took over the show in a fit of anger and claimed that Fantano had agreed to give the mixtape a 10 off camera. However, Fantano's rating still stands.[‡ 2]

Personal life[edit]

Anthony Fantano lives in Middletown, Connecticut. He is three-quarters French Canadian and a quarter Sicilian. [‡ 3][‡ 4][‡ 5] He is a vegan, having grown into the diet since becoming vegetarian around 18–19.[11] He is married.[9]

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 qualification of its score. Occasionally he will do parody reviews of albums such as I'm Gay (I'm Happy) by Lil B,[‡ 6] Born This Way by Lady Gaga,[‡ 7] Unknown Death 2002 by Yung Lean,[‡ 8] Mastermind by Rick Ross,[‡ 9] Dark Sky Paradise by Big Sean,[‡ 10] August 26 by Post Malone,[‡ 11] Ether by B.o.B,[‡ 12] Gold Cobra by Limp Bizkit,[‡ 13] and Sketches of Brunswick East by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.[‡ 14] Fantano has only given three perfect 10/10 ratings in his reviews so far (The Money Store by Death Grips, To Be Kind by Swans, and To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar). 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.

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.[‡ 15] The first album to receive the rating was Desiigner's New English.[‡ 16] 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.[‡ 17]

Contemporary albums with a perfect rating (10/10)[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Ref.
2012 Death Grips The Money Store  United States [‡ 18]
2014 Swans To Be Kind  United States [‡ 19]
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly  United States [‡ 20]

Albums with a score of 0/10 (not counting "NOT GOOD" ratings)[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Ref.
2015 Kid Cudi Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven  United States [‡ 21]


In a segment known as 'List Week' in late December, Anthony Fantano names his favourite singles, albums and EPs for the past year, as well as his least favourite album and least favourite singles of the year. He also named his favourite music video of the year between 2010 and 2014, but did not publish a list for 2015 or any other year since.

Album of the Year (2009–)[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Top 5 Albums Ref.
2009 Fever Ray Fever Ray  Sweden [17][18][better source needed]
2010 LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening  United States [‡ 22]
2011 Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues  United States [‡ 23]
2012 Death Grips The Money Store  United States [‡ 24]
2013 Tim Hecker Virgins  Canada [‡ 25]
2014 Swans To Be Kind  United States [‡ 26]
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly  United States [‡ 27]
2016 Danny Brown Atrocity Exhibition  United States [‡ 28]
2017 Father John Misty Pure Comedy  United States [‡ 29]

EP of the Year (2010–)[edit]

Year Artist EP Nation Top 5 EPs Ref.
2010 The Tallest Man on Earth Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird  Sweden [‡ 30]
2011 Nicolas Jaar Don't Break My Love  United States
  • 2nd: United States Clams CasinoRainforest
  • 3rd: France Valentin Stip – Anytime Will Do
  • 4th: United States Theophilus LondonLovers Holiday
  • 5th: United Kingdom Oblivionized – Abhorrent Evolution
[‡ 31]
2012 TNGHT TNGHT  Canada
 United Kingdom
[‡ 32]
2013 Milo Things That Happen At Day  United States [‡ 33]
2014 Girl Talk and Freeway Broken Ankles  United States [‡ 34]
2015 FKA Twigs M3LL155X  United Kingdom [‡ 35]
2016 Charli XCX Vroom Vroom  United Kingdom [‡ 36]
2017 Rina Sawayama RINA  United Kingdom [‡ 37]

Single of the Year (2010–)[edit]

Year Artist Single Nation Top 5 Songs Ref.
2010 LCD Soundsystem "I Can Change"  United States [‡ 38]
2011 Fleet Foxes "Helplessness Blues"  United States [‡ 39]
2012 Death Grips "The Fever (Aye Aye)"  United States [‡ 40]
2013 The Knife "A Tooth for an Eye"  Sweden [‡ 41]
2014 Liars "Mess on a Mission"  United States [‡ 42]
2015 Kendrick Lamar "The Blacker the Berry"  United States [‡ 43]
2016 David Bowie ""  United Kingdom [‡ 44]
2017 Father John Misty "Pure Comedy"  United States [‡ 45]

Worst Album of the Year (2015–)[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Bottom 5 Albums Ref.
2015 Kid Cudi Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven  United States [‡ 46]
2016 Corey Feldman Angelic 2 the Core  United States [‡ 47]
2017 XXXTentacion 17  United States [‡ 48]

Worst Song of the Year (2016–)[edit]

Year Artist Song Bottom 5 Songs Ref.
2016 Le Tigre "I'm With Her" [‡ 49]
2017 Hopsin "Happy Ending" [‡ 50]

Music Video of the Year (2010–2014)[edit]

Year Artist Music Video Top 5 Videos Ref.
2010 HEALTH "We Are Water"
2011 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis "Wing$"
2012 Dinosaur Jr. "Watch the Corners"
2013 Arcade Fire "Reflektor" [‡ 51]
2014 Flying Lotus "Ready err Not" [‡ 52]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 6 February 2018. 
  2. ^ Veronin, Nick. "The Hardest Working Critic in Show Business Never Stops Hunting for New Music"., February 18, 2014
  3. ^ "Cal Chuchesta knows nothing about music". 
  4. ^ "'Success!' Video". 
  5. ^ "New Music Videos, Reality TV Shows, Celebrity News, Pop Culture – MTV". 
  6. ^ thatistheplan (2017-10-03), terminated, retrieved 2017-10-22 
  7. ^ theneedledrop (2017-10-06), The Fader Response, retrieved 2017-10-22 
  8. ^ "A Primer On The Almighty Shitstorm Surrounding The Needle Drop's Anthony Fantano". Junkee. 2017-10-05. Retrieved 2017-10-22. 
  9. ^ a b c 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. 
  10. ^ (I)NTERVIEW: Anthony Fantano. YouTube. January 15, 2013. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Anthony Chuchesta Wants to Turn You On". Consequence of Sound. October 9, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Interview at SXSW". 
  15. ^ Jonze, Tim (March 18, 2011). "SXSW 2011: The rise of the music vlogger". London. Retrieved September 4, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Cal Chuchesta – The New CALassic – Download and Stream – Audiomack". Retrieved September 4, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Anthony Fantano's Top 15 Albums of 2009". Rate Your Music. 
  18. ^ "Fever Ray Album Of The Year". Youtube. 

Primary sources[edit]

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

  1. ^ "Youtube channel". 
  2. ^ "Cal Chuchesta - The New CALassic MIXTAPE REVIEW". 
  3. ^ "Anthony Fantano". Twitter. 
  4. ^ "Anthony Fantano". Twitter. 
  5. ^ "Anthony Fantano". Twitter. 
  6. ^ "Lil B- I'm Gay (I'm Happy) ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. Retrieved September 10, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Lady Gaga- Born This Way ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. May 24, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  8. ^ "Yung Lean – Unknown Death 2002 MIXTAPE REVIEW". The Needle Drop. July 17, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  9. ^ Rick Ross – Mastermind ALBUM REVIEW. YouTube. March 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise ALBUM REVIEW. YouTube. February 24, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Post Malone – August 26th MIXTAPE REVIEW". The Needle Drop. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  12. ^ "B.o.B – Ether ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. Retrieved May 20, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Limp Bizkit – Gold Cobra ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  14. ^ "King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard w/ Mild High Club - Sketches of Brunswick East ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  15. ^ "NOT GOOD". The Needle Drop. Retrieved March 1, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Desiigner's New English: NOT GOOD". The Needle Drop. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  17. ^ "THE WORST ALBUM OF 2016 (Corey Feldman's Angelic 2 the Core) [NOT GOOD]". The Needle Drop. Retrieved October 6, 2016. 
  18. ^ Fantano, Anthony (April 23, 2012). "The Money Store Review". The Needle Drop. Retrieved May 26, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Swans – To Be Kind ALBUM REVIEW". 
  20. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly ALBUM REVIEW". 
  21. ^ "Kid Cudi – Speedin' Bullet To Heaven ALBUM REVIEW". 
  22. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2010". YouTube. 
  23. ^ "Favorite Albums of 2011". YouTube. 
  24. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2012". YouTube. 
  25. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2013". YouTube. 
  26. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2014". YouTube. 
  27. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2015". YouTube. 
  28. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2016". YouTube. 
  29. ^ "Top 50 Albums of 2017". YouTube. 
  30. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2010". YouTube. 
  31. ^ "Favorite EPs of 2011". YouTube. 
  32. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2012". YouTube. 
  33. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2013". YouTube. 
  34. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2014". YouTube. 
  35. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2015". YouTube. 
  36. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2016". YouTube. 
  37. ^ "Top 15 EPs of 2017". YouTube. 
  38. ^ "Top-50 Tracks / Songs of 2010". YouTube. 
  39. ^ "Favorite Singles of 2011". YouTube. 
  40. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2012". YouTube. 
  41. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2013". YouTube. 
  42. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2014". YouTube. 
  43. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2015". YouTube. 
  44. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2016". YouTube. 
  45. ^ "Top 50 Singles of 2017". YouTube. 
  46. ^ "TOP-10 WORST ALBUMS OF 2015". The Needle Drop. December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  47. ^ "Top-10 WORST ALBUMS OF 2016". The Needle Drop. December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  48. ^ "10 Worst Albums of 2017". The Needle Drop. December 21, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  49. ^ "Top-15 WORST SONGS OF 2016". The Needle Drop. December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  50. ^ "10 Worst Singles of 2017". The Needle Drop. December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  51. ^ "Top-25 Music Videos of 2013". YouTube. 
  52. ^ "Top-20 Music VIdeos of 2014". YouTube. 

External links[edit]