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)
NationalityAmerican
EducationSouthern Connecticut State University
ResidenceMiddletown, Connecticut, U.S.
OccupationMusic journalist
Websitetheneedledrop.com
YouTube information
Also known asCal Chuchesta[1], Melon[2], The Worst Feet in The Game, The Best Teeth in the Game[3]
Channels
Years active2007–present
Subscribers1.9 million (theneedledrop)

788,000

(fantano)
Total views490,895,763 (theneedledrop) 133,741,014 (fantano)
(August 8, 2019)
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)[6]
CommercialYes
Launched2007; 12 years ago (2007)
Current statusActive
Updated August 8, 2019

Anthony Fantano (/fænˈtæn/; born October 28, 1985) is an American music critic, video producer, bassist 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".[7] 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.[8] He is of Sicilian and French-Canadian descent.[9] As a child he had a desire to become a cartoonist, stating he was a fan of The Simpsons.[10]

Career[edit]

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".[11] In 2007, Fantano started working at Connecticut Public Radio in which he hosted The Needle Drop.[12] That same year, he launched The Needle Drop in text reviews, eventually starting as video reviews in early 2009, starting with a Jay Reatard record.[13][14] Fantano's review for Flying Lotus' 2010 album Cosmogramma appearing next to other Flying Lotus videos in YouTube's "Featured Videos" section gave him the "hint" to continue making video reviews.[15] In 2010, Fantano took down older reviews that contained music clips in order to avoid DMCA violations.[13] 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, but kept affiliation with WNPR until 2014.[11][13][15]

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.[16] In March 2011, he was featured in an article from The Guardian also about the rise of music vlogging.[17] The Needle Drop won the 2011 O Music Awards in the "Beyond the Blog" category.[18][19] Fantano was offered an album review show on Adult Swim but did not go through with it.[13]

Fantano had a cameo in Lil Nas X's video for Old Town Road's Young Thug and Mason Ramsey remix, appearing as a worker for the Area 51 military installation.[20]

Response from other media[edit]

In order to earn enough money to pay his editor Austin Walsh, by November 2016 Fantano had recorded more regularly on a secondary YouTube channel, "thatistheplan", on which he reviewed memes and recorded "often irreverent videos that don't fall into the record review format", according to SPIN.[13] In October 2017, Fantano was accused of promoting alt-right and racist sentiments in videos on "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.[21] 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.[22] The article was later deleted by The Fader, with both parties saying that the claims were settled.[23]

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."[24]

Personal life[edit]

Fantano lives in Middletown, Connecticut. He is a vegan, having grown into the diet since becoming vegetarian around 18–19.[11] He is married to Dominique Boxley.[8][25]

Politically, Fantano is an anti-war social democrat in line with the policies of Bernie Sanders.[26] He supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour as a "living wage"[27] as well as single-payer healthcare.[28] He identifies as an atheist.[29]

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. Often in his reviews, Cal Chuchesta, Fantano's "roommate" (a character played by Fantano himself), appears to make a lighthearted quip, often to Fantano's dismay. 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] Although Fantano has awarded albums with the maximum score of 10/10, he has done so only a handful of times. With a "perfect" score being so extraordinarily rare, Fantano giving such a rating is considered quite noteworthy. Thus far, he has only ever awarded the score to six albums. In 2010, the first ever 10/10 rating was given in retrospect to Pink Flag by Wire in a special "classics review", the first Fantano had done. All five other albums have been new releases, with The Money Store by Death Grips in 2012 receiving the first 10/10 to be given to a newly released album. Chronologically, the other recipients are To Be Kind by Swans in 2014, To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar in 2015, then both Kids See Ghosts' self-titled album and You Won't Get What You Want by Daughters in 2018. He has also only given two 0/10 ratings in his reviews (Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven by Kid Cudi, and The Big Day by Chance the Rapper). 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. The review of Pink Flag by Wire was done years prior to the introduction of Classics Week and remains the only classic album to have been given a numbered rating. TheNeedleDrop is also home to another segment called Lists Week, in which Fantano lists his favorite and least favorite albums of the year, as well as his favorite and least favorite singles of the year. This segment traditionally happens near the end of the year. All of Fantano's album ratings have never been formally changed, with the exception of The Life of Pablo by Kanye West which received a "redux review." [30] Occasionally, Fantano ranks an artist's album discography in a segment known as Worst to Best.

In July 2016, a new rating dubbed "Not Good" was introduced, which is not based on a numeric score and is assigned to albums on which Fantano does not feel like giving a proper negative review.[‡ 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]

Fantano's review of Floral Shoppe by Macintosh Plus has been cited as important in the diminished use of the term vaporwave.[31]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Taiga (2009, as bass player)[32][33]
  • Anthony FanFiction Vol.1 (2015)
  • The New CALassic (2015, as Cal Chuchesta)

Singles[edit]

  • "Cal 2 B" (2013, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • "Cocoa" (2014, 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)
  • ”Rubber Duck (Pickup Truck)” (2019, as Cal Chuchesta)
  • ”Best Teef” (2019, as Cal Chuchesta)

Mixtapes[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Interview: Anthony Fantano (The Needle Drop)". The Mancunion. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  2. ^ "Anthony Fantano Responds To Alt-Right & Racist Accusations". Kill Your Stereo. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  3. ^ "BEEFING WITH ANDERSON PAAK". Youtube.com.
  4. ^ thatistheplan (October 3, 2017), terminated, retrieved October 22, 2017
  5. ^ "A Primer On The Almighty Shitstorm Surrounding The Needle Drop's Anthony Fantano". Junkee Media. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  6. ^ "theneedledrop.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  7. ^ Veronin, Nick. "The Hardest Working Critic in Show Business Never Stops Hunting for New Music". wired.com, February 18, 2014
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ boy, music (September 4, 2012). "@Grant_Fartman sicilian / french canadian". Twitter.com (in Spanish). Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  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. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ a b c d e "How Anthony Fantano, aka The Needle Drop, Became Today's Most Successful Music Critic". Spin.com. November 30, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  14. ^ Correspondent, Maura Johnston Globe; April 28; 2015; Comments, 6:00 p m Email to a Friend Share on Facebook Share on TwitterPrint this Article View. "Anthony Fantano brings Needle Drop to Middle East - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Anthony Chuchesta Wants to Turn You On". Consequence of Sound. October 9, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  16. ^ "Interview at SXSW". Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  17. ^ Jonze, Tim (March 18, 2011). "SXSW 2011: The rise of the music vlogger". London. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  18. ^ "O Music Awards Take Over Halloween's Largest Street Party". MTV News (Press release). November 1, 2011. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  19. ^ "Robyn Wows MTV O Music Awards; Bjork & Marilyn Manson's Butt Win Big". Billboard. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  20. ^ "Area 51 remix video proves it's the summer of Lil Nas X". The Daily Dot. July 19, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  21. ^ "Popular music vlogger accused of promoting alt-right sentiment - NME". NME. October 4, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  22. ^ "Nothony Meatano on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  23. ^ "Fader Removes Article Amid Settlement With Anthony Fantano". Spin. March 21, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  24. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 15, 2019). "Xgau Sez". Robertchristgau.com. Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  25. ^ "Wayback Machine". June 11, 2015. Archived from the original on June 11, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ fantano (November 5, 2018), LET'S ARGUE: Greta Van Fleet DOESN'T Sound Like Led Zeppelin, retrieved November 6, 2018
  30. ^ {{cite web|url = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxVfshdEKt4
  31. ^ Whiteley, Sheila; Rambarran, Shara (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Music and Virtuality. Oxford University Press. p. 422. ISBN 9780190614041.
  32. ^ "Taiga by Taiga". Rateyourmusic.com.
  33. ^ "Taiga, by Anthony Fantano and Richard D'Albis". Anthonyfantanoricharddalbis.bandcamp.com.

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]