Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Getting To The Point: Anthony Fantano’s Favourite Albums

With over two million subscribers to his YouTube channel, Anthony Fantano has caused a revolution in music journalism. In this week's Baker's Dozen he talks Max Pilley through 13 favourite albums, from ODB to MIA, Laurie Anderson and LCD

Perhaps you’ve heard that arts journalism is on its knees. Well, it is. At least, it is in most places. At a time of crisis in the industry, one space to have afforded the opportunity for exponential growth over the last decade is the domain of the YouTube vlogger. It is no less mercilessly competitive an arena than any other, but amid a cybersea of abandoned projects and unfollowed channels, one stubborn lighthouse beam of independent, yellow and black flannelled success guides the way.

Anthony Fantano’s The Needle Drop YouTube channel has over 2.2 million subscribers, all keen to watch one man sit before a camera and speak for five to fifteen minutes about a current album release. It is an almost unfeasibly simple concept, but it has led to Fantano becoming arguably the most famous music critic of the internet age, to the extent that his name began trending earlier this year when he dared to criticise Fiona Apple’s latest record.

The Connecticut native began working in college radio in the 2000s before launching his current channel in 2009. It’s now home to an archive of 2000 album reviews. He deliberately tackles underground and mainstream artists alike, with some of his most notorious rave reviews being saved for records as non-two-million-subscribers-friendly as Death Grips’ The Money Store, Swans’ To Be Kind and Daughters’ You Won’t Get What You Want.

His impact on artists at nascent stages of their careers has been invaluable too; as an example, Scottish alt-hip-hop group and eventual Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers were reportedly signed to their first substantial record deal by Anticon off the back of a Needle Drop review of their self-released Tape One EP in January 2012.

For somebody with an almost unmatched archive of music opinions already stored online, streamlining music history into thirteen records was never going to be easy. As he says, “I could go into the past and dig up a bunch of albums that everybody already thinks are critically acclaimed, but that felt boring. Eventually I chose a bunch of records that in my teens or twenties meant a lot to me. Making the net any wider would have driven me insane.”

You can support the Need Drop and Anthony Fantano via his Patreon here. Click the image of Fantano below to begin reading his Baker’s Dozen selections

First Record

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