The Needle Drop

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The Needle Drop
The Needle Drop Logo
Type of site
Music reviewing
Available in English
Created by Anthony Fantano
Slogan(s) "The Internet's Busiest Music Nerd"
Alexa rank Increase 161,151 (September 2016)[1]
Commercial Yes
  • 2007 (text reviews)
  • 2009 (video reviews)
Current status Active

The Needle Drop is a blog/vlog created and run by Anthony Fantano /fænˈtæn/, 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 alter ego Cal Chuchesta, a musically oblivious man portrayed as Fantano's roommate.[3]

The Needle Drop's YouTube channel currently has over 785,000 subscribers, and more than 160 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]

Background and history[edit]

Fantano grew up in Connecticut[8] 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.[9] 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".[10]

In 2007, Fantano started working at Connecticut Public Radio in which he hosted The Needle Drop.[11] 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.[10][12]

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.[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.

Cal Chuchesta is an alter ego of Fantano's often featured in reviews and skits. The character is portrayed as Fantano's musically oblivious and socially awkward roommate, and is depicted as having a strange Midwestern accent, fake mustache, and constantly wearing a turtleneck sweater. Fantano has described the character as "the Ren to my Stimpy".[3] Chuchesta released his debut mixtape, The New CALassic, on August 18, 2015 as a free digital download.[16] Fantano himself reviewed the mixtape and gave it a light 3, though he had promised Chuchesta a strong 10.

Personal life[edit]

Fantano lives in Plainville, Connecticut. He is three quarters French Canadian and a quarter Sicilian.[17][18][19] Fantano is a vegan, having grown into the diet since becoming vegetarian around 18–19.[10]

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,[20] Unknown Death 2002 by Yung Lean,[21] Mastermind by Rick Ross,[22] Dark Sky Paradise by Big Sean[23] August 26th by Post Malone[24] and Gold Cobra by Limp Bizkit.[25]

The blog sometimes does not give an album a numerical rating, but instead will dub it "Not Good", such as New English by Desiigner,[26] California by Blink-182,[27] Savage Mode by 21 Savage and Metro Boomin,[28] Unleashed by Skillet[29] and Showtime by Trisha Paytas.[30] He also did a near-unedited 50-minute "Not Good" of Angelic 2 The Core by Corey Feldman, in which he dubbed the album the worst of 2016.[31]

Album of the Year (2009–)[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Top 5 Albums Ref.
2009 Fever Ray Fever Ray  Sweden [32]
2010 LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening  United States [33]
2011 Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues  United States [34]
2012 Death Grips The Money Store  United States [35]
2013 Tim Hecker Virgins  Canada [36]
2014 Swans To Be Kind  United States [37]
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly  United States [38]

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 [39]
2011 Nicolas Jaar Don't Break My Love  United States [40]
2012 TNGHT TNGHT  Canada
 United Kingdom
2013 Milo Things That Happen At Day  United States [42]
2014 Girl Talk and Freeway Broken Ankles  United States [43]
2015 FKA Twigs M3LL155X  United Kingdom [44]

Single of the Year (2010–)[edit]

Year Artist Single Nation Ref.
2010 LCD Soundsystem "I Can Change"  United States [45]
2011 Fleet Foxes "Helplessness Blues"  United States [46]
2012 Death Grips "The Fever (Aye Aye)"  United States [47]
2013 The Knife "A Tooth for an Eye"  Sweden [48]
2014 Liars "Mess on a Mission"  United States [49]
2015 Kendrick Lamar "The Blacker the Berry"  United States [50]

Worst Album of the Year (2015–)[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Top 5 Albums Ref.
2015 Kid Cudi Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven  United States [51]
2016 Corey Feldman Angelic 2 The Core  United States [52]

Classic Album Reviews (2011–)[edit]

The following albums are considered "classic" music releases by The Needle Drop, reviewed without a rating 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 [53]
1965 Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited  United States [54]
1965 Nina Simone Pastel Blues  United States [55]
1967 The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & Nico  United States [56]
1968 Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison  United States [57]
1969 Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band Trout Mask Replica[A]  United States [58]
1969 Frank Zappa Hot Rats  United States [59]
1969 King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King  United Kingdom [60]
1970 Miles Davis Bitches Brew  United States [61]
1971 Marvin Gaye What's Going On  United States [62]
1972 David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars  United Kingdom [63]
1972 Yes Close to the Edge  United Kingdom [64]
1974 Tangerine Dream Phaedra  Germany [65]
1975 Patti Smith Horses  United States [66]
1977 Kraftwerk Trans-Europe Express  Germany [67]
1979 Joy Division Unknown Pleasures  United Kingdom [68]
1980 Talking Heads Remain in Light[A]  United States [69]
1982 Dead Kennedys Plastic Surgery Disasters  United States [70]
1982 Iron Maiden The Number of the Beast  United Kingdom [71]
1984 Prince & The Revolution Purple Rain  United States [72]
1985 Kate Bush Hounds of Love  United Kingdom [73]
1985 Tom Waits Rain Dogs[A]  United States [74]
1988 N.W.A Straight Outta Compton  United States [75]
1990 Fugazi Repeater  United States [76]
1991 My Bloody Valentine Loveless  Ireland [77]
1991 A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory  United States [78]
1991 Slint Spiderland  United States [79]
1993 Nirvana In Utero  United States [80]
1993 Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)  United States [81]
1994 Emperor In the Nightside Eclipse[A]  Norway [82]
1994 Nas Illmatic  United States [83]
1996 DJ Shadow Endtroducing.....  United States [84]
1996 OutKast ATLiens[A]  United States [85]
1998 Neutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane Over the Sea  United States [86]
2000 Radiohead Kid A  United Kingdom [87]
2000 Godspeed You! Black Emperor Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven  Canada [88]
2001 The Microphones The Glow, Pt. 2  United States [89]
2004 Madvillain Madvillainy  United States [90]
A Album that will be in the end year Classics Week segment of 2016, but was released early as a review only to be given to fans that donated at least $5 USD to The Needle Drop.[91]

Modern albums with a perfect rating[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Ref.
2012 Death Grips The Money Store  United States [92]
2014 Swans To Be Kind  United States [93]
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly  United States [94]

Albums with a score of 0[edit]

Year Artist Album Nation Ref.
2011 Lil B I'm Gay (I'm Happy)  United States [95]
2015 Kid Cudi Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven  United States [96]
2016 Corey Feldman Angelic 2 The Core  United States

The New CALassic[edit]

The New CALassic
Mixtape by Cal Chuchesta
Released August 16, 2015 (2015-08-16)
Recorded 2014–15
Genre Comedy hip hop
Length 54:53
Singles from The New CALassic
  1. "I Was Throwing Up on a Tuesday"
    Released: October 31, 2014
  2. "Cocoa"
    Released: November 26, 2014
  3. "Cocoa (Remix)"
    Released: December 15, 2014
  4. "Hot Dinner"
    Released: February 5, 2015
  5. "Parody"
    Released: February 22, 2015
  6. "Cal the Best (Freestyle)"
    Released: August 6, 2015
  7. "Friend from the Apple Store"
    Released: August 12, 2015
  8. "I Am Angry"
    Released: August 14, 2015

The New CALassic is the debut mixtape by Anthony Fantano's roommate, Cal Chuchesta. It was released for free on August 16, 2015.

Release and promotion[edit]

On January 5, 2015, the music video for "i was throwing up on a tuesday" was released. Fantano later reviewed the mixtape on August 19, 2015 and rated it a light 3. However, Chuchesta angrily took over the show, and claimed that Fantano had agreed to give the mixtape a 10 off camera.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro" (featuring youaintpackinmeat) Anthony Fantano 1:00
2. "Hot Dinner"   Jahlil Beats 3:46
3. "I Was Throwing Up on a Tuesday"   Anthony Fantano 1:39
4. "Cocoa (Remix)" (featuring Pink Guy and Filthy Frank) Anthony Fantano 4:13
5. "Doody's First Message"   MisterDoodyHead 0:39
6. "Parody"   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"   2:32
11. "OG Radio Interview" (featuring D. Respect as OG Radio & Dom Raburn as DJ Slice) Anthony Fantano 3:51
12. "Cal the Best (Freestyle)"   3:35
13. "I am Angry"   Brandon Thomas 3:30
14. "I Need my Friends" (featuring FrankJavCee, John Sakars and 3PAC) Hit-Boy 6:33
Bonus tracks
No. Title Producer(s) Length
15. "Cocoa"   Anthony Fantano 3:55
16. "Cocoa (Nmesh's Whack CalZone Remix)"   Nmesh 9:52
Total length:


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  2. ^ Veronin, Nick. "The Hardest Working Critic in Show Business Never Stops Hunting for New Music"., February 18, 2014
  3. ^ a b Interviews, 23rd March 2014 in; Ingham, Music Tom. "Interview: Anthony Fantano (The Needle Drop)". The Mancunion. Retrieved 2016-01-14. 
  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. ^ "Anthony Fantano about page on The Needle Drop website". 
  9. ^ (I)NTERVIEW: Anthony Fantano. YouTube. January 15, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c Elabbady, Ali (October 1, 2013). "Interview: Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop". United States. 
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  12. ^ "Anthony Fantano Wants to Turn You On", Consequence of Sound
  13. ^ "Interview at SXSW". 
  14. ^ Jonze, Tim (March 18, 2011). "The Guardian article". London. 
  15. ^ "The Needle Drop". 
  16. ^ "Cal Chuchesta - The New CALassic - Download and Stream - Audiomack". 
  17. ^ "Anthony Fantano". Twitter. 
  18. ^ "Anthony Fantano". Twitter. 
  19. ^ "Anthony Fantano". Twitter. 
  20. ^ "Lady Gaga- Born This Way ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. May 24, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  21. ^ "Yung Lean - Unknown Death 2002 MIXTAPE REVIEW". The Needle Drop. July 17, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  22. ^ Rick Ross - Mastermind ALBUM REVIEW. YouTube. March 9, 2014. 
  23. ^ Big Sean - Dark Sky Paradise ALBUM REVIEW. YouTube. February 24, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Post Malone - August 26th MIXTAPE REVIEW". The Needle Drop. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Limp Bizkit - Gold Cobra ALBUM REVIEW". The Needle Drop. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Desiigner's New English: NOT GOOD". The Needle Drop. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Blink-182's California: NOT GOOD". The Needle Drop. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  28. ^ "21 Savage and Metro Boomin's Savage Mode: NOT GOOD". The Needle Drop. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  29. ^ "Skillet's Unleashed: NOT GOOD". The Needle Drop. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Trisha Paytas' Showtime EP: NOT GOOD". The Needle Drop. Retrieved October 5, 2016. 
  31. ^ "THE WORST ALBUM OF 2016 (Corey Feldman's Angelic 2 The Core) [NOT GOOD]". The Needle Drop. Retrieved October 6, 2016. 
  32. ^ "Anthony Fantano's Top 15 Albums of 2009". 
  33. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2010". 
  34. ^ "Favorite Albums of 2011". 
  35. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2012". 
  36. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2013". 
  37. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2014". 
  38. ^ "Top-50 Albums of 2015". 
  39. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2010". 
  40. ^ "Favorite EPs of 2011". 
  41. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2012". 
  42. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2013". 
  43. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2014". 
  44. ^ "Top-15 EPs of 2015". 
  45. ^ "Top-50 Tracks / Songs of 2010". 
  46. ^ "Favorite Singles of 2011". 
  47. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2012". 
  48. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2013". 
  49. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2014". 
  50. ^ "Top-50 Singles of 2015". 
  51. ^ "TOP-10 WORST ALBUMS OF 2015". The Needle Drop. December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  52. ^ "THE WORST ALBUM OF 2016 (Corey Feldman's Angelic 2 The Core) [NOT GOOD]". The Needle Drop. September 27, 2016. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  53. ^ "Roland Kirk - I Talk With the Spirits ALBUM REVIEW". 
  54. ^ "Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited ALBUM REVIEW". 
  55. ^ "Nina Simone - Pastel Blues ALBUM REVIEW". 
  56. ^ "The Velvet Underground & Nico - Self-Titled ALBUM REVIEW". 
  57. ^ "Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison ALBUM REVIEW". 
  59. ^ "Frank Zappa- Hot Rats ALBUM REVIEW". 
  60. ^ "King Crimson- In the Court of the Crimson King ALBUM REVIEW". 
  61. ^ "Miles Davis- Bitches Brew ALBUM REVIEW". 
  62. ^ "Marvin Gaye- What's Going On". 
  63. ^ "Davie Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars ALBUM REVIEW". 
  64. ^ "Yes - Close to the Edge ALBUM REVIEW". 
  65. ^ "Tangerine Dream - Phaedra ALBUM REVIEW". 
  66. ^ "Patti Smith - Horses ALBUM REVIEW". 
  67. ^ "Kraftwerk- Trans-Europe Express". 
  68. ^ "Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures ALBUM REVIEW". 
  70. ^ "Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters ALBUM REVIEW". 
  71. ^ "Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast ALBUM REVIEW". 
  72. ^ "Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain ALBUM REVIEW". 
  73. ^ "Kate Bush - Hounds of Love ALBUM REVIEW". 
  75. ^ "N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton ALBUM REVIEW". 
  76. ^ "Fugazi - Repeater ALBUM REVIEW". 
  77. ^ "My Bloody Valentine- Loveless ALBUM REVIEW". 
  78. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest- The Low End Theory ALBUM REVIEW". 
  79. ^ "Slint - Spiderland ALBUM REVIEW". 
  80. ^ "Nirvana - In Utero ALBUM REVIEW". 
  81. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan- Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers ALBUM REVIEW". 
  83. ^ "Nas - Illmatic ALBUM REVIEW". 
  84. ^ "DJ Shadow - Endtroducing..... ALBUM REVIEW". 
  86. ^ "Neutral Milk Hotel- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea ALBUM REVIEW". 
  87. ^ "Radiohead - Kid A ALBUM REVIEW". 
  88. ^ "Godspeed You! Black Emperor- Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! ALBUM REVIEW". 
  89. ^ "The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2 ALBUM REVIEW". 
  90. ^ "Madvillain- Madvillainy ALBUM REVIEW". 
  91. ^ YouTube. 
  92. ^ Fantano, Anthony (April 23, 2012). "The Money Store Review". The Needle Drop. Retrieved May 26, 2013. 
  93. ^ "Swans - To Be Kind ALBUM REVIEW". 
  94. ^ "Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly ALBUM REVIEW". 
  95. ^ "Lil B - I'm Gay (I'm Happy) ALBUM REVIEW". 
  96. ^ "Kid Cudi - Speedin' Bullet To Heaven ALBUM REVIEW". 

External links[edit]