Follow TV Tropes

Following

Web Video / The Needle Drop

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/antony_fantano_920x518.jpg

"Hi, everyone. Anthony Fantano here, the Internet's busiest music nerd."
Advertisement:

The Needle Drop is a web/radio-based review show hosted by Anthony Fantano (self-described as "the Internet's busiest music nerd"), that was started in 2007 (although video reviews didn't start until 2009).

The music he reviews is within a range of "rock, pop, electronic, metal, hip hop and experimental music", although he often reviews indie or underground albums, with bigger names dropping in due to demand or relative acclaim. Anthony uses a 0-10 scale, with the unique trait of the accompanying adjectives "light", "decent", and "strong".

Anthony is highly infamous for his at-times-controversial scores, and has a penchant for giving albums a 6/10 rating (one of the most infamous examples being the universally acclaimed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). He has only given five albums a perfect 10: Death Grips' The Money Store, Swans' To Be Kind, Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, Kids See Ghosts' Kids See Ghosts, and Daughters' You Won't Get What You Want.

Advertisement:

On the flip side, he's far from a Caustic Critic, almost always discussing albums in a calm, rational manner and often finding things to praise in albums he otherwise despises. As such, when Fantano gets genuinely angry in a review, that's usually when you know that he hates it. These albums usually get slapped with a "NOT GOOD" rating rather than given a proper score, often bringing the snark in the process. There's only been three albums that have avoided the "NOT GOOD" rating and gone as low as a 0/10: Kid Cudi's Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven, Chance the Rapper's The Big Day, and Green Day's Father of All Motherfuckers.

Besides Anthony, there are also various cameos by his bizarre roommate/alter ego Cal Chuchesta, who has gained an immense following in Anthony's fanbase to the point of releasing his own mixtape (much to Anthony's chagrin).

Advertisement:

He has also has a number of series on his channels besides reviews that include:

The show used to be highly popular on 4chan's music board, partially due to the fact Anthony was a /mu/tant, and birthed a great Fountain of Memes that Anthony wholeheartedly supported. However, nowadays he is a massively polarizing figure there (which might have something to do with him becoming the most famous music critic on the planet), and Anthony has gone on record saying he hasn't frequented /mu/ in a long time.

His YouTube channel can be found here, and his side channel (which contains op-eds concerning music news, responses to articles, and more miscellaneous content) can be found here.


Tropethany Tropetano:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: A frequent habit of Cal's, along with Mondegreens.
  • Accentuate the Negative: Averted for the most part, as Anthony often goes out of his way to mention the good elements in projects he pans as much as he mentions bad things in projects he praises, which may or may not factor into his overall score (his review of Speedin' Bullet to Heaven has him faintly compliment a few riffs and "Judgemental Cunt", but the overall experience was so horrendous for him he gave it his first 0/10). Even in his "NOT GOOD" series, he often gives at least a few areas of highlight, even if it's faint.
  • Alter-Ego Acting: Cal Chuchesta constitutes the Type 1 variety. This was most evident during the "Cal is dead" arc, where Anthony continued the act, still treating Cal like he was a different person.
  • Appropriated Appellation: One of Anthony's most common nicknames, "Melon" (used affectionately by fans), originated as an insult thrown his way from Zomby.
  • April Fools' Day:
  • Ascended Fanboy: Anthony works in radio and is an NPR contributor.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: During the "Cal is in Hell" arc, Anthony showcased that he really does love Cal Chuchesta, even admitting to it when tried to replace Cal with a cat, calling it Cat Chuchesta.
  • Breakout Character: Anthony has even acknowledged that a portion of his viewer base is there because they only watch his videos to see Cal, and so has That Poppy, of all people.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Cal is a funny, mostly innocent and oblivious guy, but after Anthony gave a bad review to his mix tape, well..let's just say Anthony learned this the hard way in the next review.
  • Broken Record:
  • Broke the Rating Scale:
    • His "NOT GOOD" reviews are for albums he simply rates NOT GOOD/10, almost always because they have some kind of significantly pervasive flaw that makes giving a critical score irrelevant.
    • He gave G-Eazy's When It's Dark Out a rating of whitegirlturnupmusic/10.
    • Similarly, he gave Post Malone's August 26th Mixtape the same score and the review just being Cal and Anthony watching Rocko's Modern Life on DVD.
    • Rick Ross's Mastermind album was given an uhhhhhhh/10.
    • He gave The Lonely Island's Turtleneck and Chain a rating of 5 dicks out of 10.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise review, where the entire review is just Fantano saying No, with the entire description being just the word "No." repeated.
    • During his joke review of Now That's What I Call Music 69, neither Anthony nor Cal are present at any point in the video, nor do either of them say anything. Despite all this, Anthony still goes Out of Bounds and gives the album a Strong 69.
  • Brown Note: The cover of Born This Way causes Anthony and Cal to throw up. Amusingly, Cal then chose Born This Way as one of his favorites albums of 2011 (so far), and when called out by Anthony on the fact that it made them throw up, he replied by stating that it was the most fun he'd had throwing up all year.
  • The Bus Came Back: While "thatistheplan" shut down around late 2017, Anthony's persona from that channel returns to host the "Top 10 Music Memes" as a preamble to his annual List Week, complete with orange beanie, shades, white tank top, and a huge load of bizarre Stylistic Suck.
  • Catch Phrase: Aside from those listed in Signing-Off Catchphrase below.
    • "Anthony Fantano here, (the) Internet's busiest music nerd."
    • "Best teeth in the (fucking) game."
    • "Hey everyone! This new [artist] album... it's not good." *explosion*
  • Caustic Critic: Although his more infamous reviews often have him painted as this by the public, it's genuinely averted as he tends to be quite calm and collected even with music he dislikes, managing to point out its strengths as well as its flaws. That said, he usually avoids the other extreme, Gushing About Shows You Like, giving a balanced look into both the strengths and weaknesses of the albums he reviews. The two notable times he played this trope straight were the reviews of Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, in which he went into Deadpan Snarker mode, and Speedin' Bullet to Heaven, which he trashed without even trying to be funny and gave his lowest score ever.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Once again, Cal.
  • Color Motifs: It's common knowledge that if Anthony's got on a yellow flannel, he loves the album he's reviewing. If he's got on a red flannel, he hates it or finds it bad. He later on introduced an orange flannel, signifying he thinks the album isn't great, but still good.
  • Couch Gag:
  • Dead Artists Are Better: invoked
    • Anthony has repeatedly addressed this concept following the deaths of various artists for projects he gave negative reviews to, namely Chester Bennington, Lil Peep, and XXXTentacion. Their deaths don't change his opinions on their albums, though he still invariably sees their premature deaths as tragic and pays his dues to everyone involved.
    • Anthony also humorously points out how stupid it is that David Bowie had to DIE to finally win a Grammy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When reviewing bad albums or usually in general.
  • Deal with the Devil: Implied as to be why Cal's went to hell for a brief arc, as he made a deal with the "Damon", later revealed to have been done to "get his mixtape out".
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In his video debating messages in music, Anthony asks the audience "And what about people who're in my position? In every review, do I have to throw in a footnote that says 'Anthony Fantano does not necessarily agree with the ideology of the artist he is currently reviewing in this review?'"
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Parodied in the "NOT GOOD" review of When Legends Rise, where Cal threatens to whip Anthony with a belt if he doesn't review that album.
  • Doo-Wop Progression: The jingle at the end of all his reviews follow this progression, a fact he lampshades when reviewing In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: His pre-2010-to-2011 videos, recorded with much more meager means, don't feature Cal, and are recorded against a black background instead of in front of his apartment walls as they are in later videos.
  • Four Point Scale: He largely averts this, which is actually a factor in why his scores tend to be so infamous. While scoring albums between 0 to 10, he uses every possible point on the scale, itself representing a wide breadth of quality — he only gives a 10 to records he considers significantly flawless, while 0 represents a record completely devoid of any merit, which in turn means a 5 is a record he considers totally average (in comparison to a typical Four Point Scale, he usually considers a 7/10 as a solid and respectably "good" score). Due to the subjectivity he places onto his own scores, he additionally specifies how strongly he feels about giving them (for instance, he might rate a single album album either a "strong 7" or a "light-to-decent 8").
  • Gainax Ending: The Born This Way review. Anthony decides to take the time to simply stare at the album cover with the audience. After a few moments pass, Anthony and Cal spontaneously throw up. Anthony then looks at the camera with a grin and says, "You can't judge me. I was born this way."
  • Gentle Giant: Despite his very buff and intimidating appearance, he's a vegan and known for his very kind, calm, and nerdy demeanour.
  • Happily Married: Around 2011 and 2012, Anthony made a brief collection of videos with his at-the-time girlfriend Dominique, and in the comments of a 2014 Instagram post he confirmed that she was now his wife. As of now, their relationship has stayed considerably private for the most part, as Dominique no longer appears in his videos.
  • Hidden Depths: Is a skilled bass player; around the late 2000s, he played in a band called Taiga and continues to play it as a hobby to this day.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In his review of Pink Season by Pink Guy, he calls Filthy Frank "a YouTuber famous for playing these depraved, obnoxious, offensive characters because he's too much of a loser to just be himself" right before Cal shows up.
    Cal: Gotta learn to love yourself, buddy!
  • Idiosyncratic Ratings Scale: Anthony uses a 0 - 10 numerical scale when rating albums, but qualifies the numbers with "light", "decent", or "strong". He also uses "NOT GOOD" as its own rating for albums that he didn't have high expectations for and which did end up being complete duds in his opinion.
  • Fan Vid: There are a few odd remixes of reviews and livestreams.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: Anthony did a short miniseries in his Vinyl Update series where he showed his collection of 7-inch LPs. What did he call said miniseries? My 7-Inches.
  • Jerkass: Anthony to Cal, ten-fold.
  • Large Ham:
  • Laugh Track:
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: Anthony has had a lot of fun with the variations of his name (Slamthony Dunktano, Shmoney Dancetano, Symphony Concerto, etc.), as have his fans. He's made so many of them that there have even been several shirts made with lists of the mutations.
    • As of June 2020, he's begun regularly replacing his name with statements of racial justice ("Justice for Breonna Taylor," "Demilitarize the Police," "The Reason You See Lawlessness in the Streets is Because of the Lawlessness of Police," etc.), in wake of George Floyd's death.
  • Malaproper: Cal Chuchesta somewho marriages to duh this with evening the moist bassist wards.
  • Mind Screw: His 2014 April Fool's joke had him do two reviews of the same album, but one gives it a 0/10 and one gives it a 10/10. Well the joke itself isn't confusing, the way he delivers both reviews in his usual style makes it hard to tell which of his reviews is serious, which is a joke, how much of it is a joke, and all that.
  • Mondegreen: Cal with lyrics and names.
  • No Indoor Voice: Anthony's default in any of his "RESIST" videos.
  • N-Word Privileges: He has outright stated that he does not have them.
    • In his review of Death Grips' Niggas on the Moon, he never once refers to the album by its name.
    • He once described Kanye West and Jay-Z's "Niggas in Paris" as "the song about them being in Paris".
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • His review of Mount Eerie's A Crow Looked at Me is one of the most mature he's ever done, as the album is from the perspective of a man whose wife has recently died. Out of respect, there's no editing gags, no Cal, and no opening joke.
    • Usually, Anthony tries to have some fun with the bad albums that he reviews, but when he gets to a project that is just that bad, his genuine anger for having to sit through it will come through as he talks about it. Examples of this include his immortally scathing reviews of Corey Feldman's Angelic 2 the Core (which he did an MST on instead of an actual review) and Kid Cudi's Speedin' Bullet to Heaven (which he gave an incredibly rare 0/10).
    • Anthony is rarely one to become emotional when it comes to songs that have a huge weight, especially if it's from a deceased artist. But it's happened a few times: The first time being in the review for Anderson .Paak's Ventura, where he actually looks like he's going to tear up when discussing .Paak's tribute to Nate Dogg. But it went hard on his TRACK REVIEW for Mac Miller's posthumous "Good News", in particular during the "LISTENING" segment, Anthony is shown breaking down and by the returning segment, he's opening weeping and even struggling on how to discuss the song at all.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • His review of Gold Cobra basically consists of Anthony eating food.
    • His review of B.o.B's Ether is him staring at the camera sighing for almost seven solid minutes. He only speaks at the beginning and ending, and during the silent midsection he breaks the silence once to talk to his offscreen wife.
    • Anthony's review of Blarf's Cease & Desist starts off with a typical intro, but then is followed with a supercut of him belching for 4 minutes.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Cal Chuchesta.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: Anthony's "RESIST" videos on his second channel: loud, aggressive, surreal, and—most of all—very fast-paced.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Anthony delivers one towards Cal at the end of "Cal Chuchesta's Fav LPs of 2011 (so far)".
    Anthony: This was... terrible. It was... a bad idea. You're the most terrible person on the face of the planet, you have absolutely no taste, you're an idiot, you're a fool, you're a piece of garbage. I don't even know how you manage to breathe when you wake up in the morning - how do you even have the brain power to feed yourself on a regular basis!? I HATE YOU!
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: In-Universe examples.
    • After about three years of mediocre and disappointing releases, he regained interest in OFWGKTA with the release of Wolf and Earl's 2013 output. Tyler, the Creator in specific had a huge boost with Flower Boy and IGOR, which Anthony acclaimed with 8/10 and 9/10 scores, calling the latter "easily one of the best breakup albums of the decade."
    • Was not a Childish Gambino fan early on, giving a scathing review to Camp in particular. His opinions on him started to shift with his lukewarm rating to because the internet, and then went to happily praise Awaken, My Love!. Gambino's single "This Is America" would end up being #1 on his "Best Singles of 2018" list.
    • Anthony has been notoriously critical of Lana Del Rey since her start, giving her first two albums particularly scathing reviews. He slowly warmed up to her with Honeymoon and Lust For Life as decent improvements, and later gave a glowing review of Norman Fucking Rockwell, in general finding her songwriting as having drastically evolved.
  • Review Ironic Echo: Pulls this in his NOT GOOD review of Imagine Dragons' album Origins; when noting that the final song ends with the refrain "Where did we all go wrong?", he quips that if he was someone working on the album, he'd be asking the same question. He also shamelessly lampshades it by adding a "CLEVER MUSIC CRITIC QUIP INCOMING" caption before said quip and a Laugh Track afterwards, and even pasted it as the description summary in lieu of a short consensus of the review.
  • Running Gag:
    • Cal himself can be considered this, due to his interruptions and his usual surreal commentary whenever he interrupts a review.
    • The tree gag, where a review will at times start off with Fantano walking up to the three outside his home.
    • "MBDTF is a 6/10" or variation of it, something Anthony will poke fun at despite having voiced his annoyance at how prevalent the gag has gone on.
    • Running Gagged: Cal's temporary death has elements of and is treated like this, though he would return from the heap after his revival.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Anthony ends his review of Kid Cudi's Speedin' Bullet to Heaven by hastily leaving in a huff after giving the album a 0/10, even cutting Cal off when he starts complaining.
  • Signing Off Catchphrase: "Anthony Fantano...[artist]...[occasionally album]...forever."
    • As of late, it is now preceded by "Tran..." "...sition!" (seguing from review Anthony to outro Anthony) and a small outro encouraging Audience Participation that goes like this, or some variant:
      "Have you given this album a listen? Did you love it? Did you hate it? What would you rate it? You're the best, you're the best. What should I review next? Hit the like if you like, please subscribe, please don't cry. Leave an angry comment in the comments if you're angry."
    • A non-spoken example occurs in the description of each review, which always ends with "Y'all know this is just my opinion, right?"
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Most of his videos on "theneedledrop" and "fantano" are on the serious end with a foot in silly; the videos for the most part consist of his actual opinions, with a few jokes peppered throughout the videos.
  • Song Parody: The review of The Nostalgia Critic's The Wall opens with Anthony singing a version of "Another Brick in The Wall Pt. 2" complaining about said soundtrack.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Anthony formerly bleeped himself out when he swore. When Anthony first started his reviews he was not averse to swearing, then sometime in 2010 he started censoring any curse words that popped up, and as of 2012, he let the occasional "goddamn" or even the occasional "fuck" slip out without censoring it.
  • Stylistic Suck:
  • Surreal Horror: His reviews of Peppa the Pig and Gunna's Wunna. Though both are humorous as well due to the presence of Cal.
  • Surreal Humor: His editing gags, Cal's segments, and the tree.
  • Story Arc: Implied after the events of the April Fool's "episode" where Cal dies. After Cal dies, Anthony tries to move on, only to be tormented by Cal's screams of terror, crying out that he is on fire. Anthony tries to assume he just misses Cal, until Cal begins appearing on the "Whack Cal Zone" wall screen in the "Tyler the Creator - Cherry Bomb" review. It's finally revealed in both the "Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld - Never Were the Way She Was" and "Blur - The Magic Whip" review that Cal is in hell after making a deal with "The Damon". Since the blur review, Anthony has been trying to banish the "damon" in order to save Cal, but for a while, this hadn't been solved. However, with the help of Creationist Cat and the power of jazz, Fantano freed Cal from hell, and Cal made his triumphant return in Anthony's review of Hudson Lantern's Mohawk.
  • Take That!: Anthony's typically very conservative and respectful to artists, even when giving critical or scathing reviews of their projects, but his section on Jake Paul's "It's Everyday Bro" in "10 Worst Singles of 2017" is just as much a harsh critique on the song as it is on Jake Paul himself.
    Generic trap beat... terrible rapping... garbage bars... mediocre everything... mediocre people...
  • Technology Marches On: In-Universe; a strange inversion in his Caustic Window review. We see Cal booting up his computer, and we hear the Windows 95 startup sound. Cal's defense? "It was a good OS!"
  • Updated Re-release: While Anthony is very rare to ever give the idea of a re-review any thought, he's done this with two Kanye West albums:
    • His "redux" review of The Life of Pablo specifically addressed the final post-release mix of the album, and he found it a significant improvement over the original cut he had previously reviewed.
    • In early 2020, in celebration of reaching 2 million subscribers and partly as a nod to the massive volume of fan requests, he re-reviewed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, only to end up giving it the same rating and admit that his thoughts are all round exactly the same as before. Wow, what a surprise! Although some fans have joked that his actual score is 12/10 due to the review repeating twice.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Invoked in his "10 Times I Changed My Opinion On Albums" videos, discussing a point of how opinions are allowed to change over time by discussing personal instances where this was the case, whether it be albums he previously disliked but grew on him, or ones he already liked and found even better. To give the topic a fair shake, the videos also conversely contain some inversions, with some albums he found less favorable since he reviewed them.
    • A downplayed case with Kid Cudi's Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven, an album which Anthony gave it an ultra-rare 0. However, a few years later, his opinions have greatly softened on it — he still doesn't think it's a good album, but his opinion has changed from that of hatred to admiration of the artistic risks Cudi took, especially in light of later reviews he did of even worse material.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Anthony and Cal, mainly Anthony. He absolutely loathes Cal, but during the "Cal is in Hell" arc, he showed to actually miss him and wanted to later on save him.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The ending of the Born This Way review.
  • Wham Episode: While the "Changing some scores to '10'" video starts off like a traditional April Fools' Day prank video, Fantano reveals near the end that Cal Chuchesta had died. Unlike the other stuff in the video, this fact was not part of the joke and Cal was still treated as dead for future videos, at least for a brief Story Arc.
  • Widget Series: Anthony's now-defunct side channel "thatistheplan", which started as a normal hub for extra content but progressively mutated into an incredibly strange channel dominated by memes.



Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report