The Lonely Island’s “Bash Brothers” is Juiced Up Visual Poetry


Earlier this year, the Andy Samberg-led comedy rap group brought to Netflix their special “The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience”. The project was released as a “visual poem” along with an accompanying album.

“The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience” is The Lonely Island’s fourth album to date, not including the soundtrack to “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping”. The special stars Andy Samberg and Akiva Shaffer as MLB players Jose Canesco and Mark McGuire, respectively. The album’s conceit was to present itself as a 1980s rap album written by the two steroid stars while they were playing for Oakland Athletics.

“The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience” was released in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Oakland A’s 1989 championship season. But don’t get The Lonely Island wrong. Their “visual poem” is nothing if not a bash on the Bash Brothers.

“The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience” was directed by Mike Diva and Akiva Schaffer, and executive produced by Samberg, Schaffer, Jorma Taccone (also of The Lonely Island), and Becky Sloviter.

Bash Brothers

With a running time of only 30 minutes, The Lonely Island makes sure that their visual poem is concise. Most of the songs are short, with only two out of the eleven breaking the three minute mark. Really, the Netflix special is closer to a series of music videos than anything else. But that didn’t stop us from watching the entire thing.

If you didn’t know what to expect from The Lonely Island, you might think from the “Bash Brothers” introduction that you’re in for a serious, dramatic, and meaningful experience. That is, until Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer are shown with CG angel wings staring into the distance.

The visual poem starts out with an introduction filled with bravado, but one of the first standout tracks is “Uniform On”, with standout lyrics like, “Baseball, baseball, he-man hit the baseball by the power of greyskull”. A later track, “Oakland Nights” highlights the Bash Brothers’ sensual side (or lack thereof), with an R&B feel, plenty of auto-tune, and Sia (played by Sterling K. Brown).

In between each of the music videos are the visual poetry elements. These mainly consist of black and white picture, scenes of Samberg falling in slow motion through water, and obscure, poetic lyrics. The biggest joke here is the juxtaposition between the intensely serious visual imagery of nature, and the ridiculous and belligerent raps.

Final Thoughts

The Lonely Island’s “Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience” doesn’t have much of a narrative to it. It basically charts Mark McGuire and Jose Canesco’s fall at the 1988 world series to their rise back to win the following year. But at the same time, narrative isn’t really the point here, and it’s not what anyone should expect.

Sure, there are some tracks that dig deeper into the psychology of the bash brothers, like “Daddy” and “IHOP Parking Lot”. And the periodic visual poetry segments do attempt to draw an archetypal hero arc (that we assume is how the bash brothers view their own story), full of hyperbolic phrases concerning what we expect from our heroes, and battles between light and dark. But overall, these just play into the larger joke of the album itself.

You should watch “The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience” if you enjoy The Lonely Island’s style of parody rap, or baseball.While I wouldn’t say that this is The Lonely Island at their prime, there are still plenty of funny moments and lyrics to make it worth the thirty minutes.

Track List

1. “Jose & Mark” 2:25
2. “Uniform On” 1:46
3. “Let’s Bash” 2:24
4. “Oakland Nights” (featuring Sia) 3:14
5. “Focused AF” 1:55
6. “Focus on the Game” 1:36
7. “Bikini Babe Workout” 3:25
8. “IHOP” 1:41
9. “IHOP Parking Lot” (featuring Haim and Maya Rudolph) 2:34
10. “Feed the Beast” 2:20
11. “Daddy” 2:34

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