It’s been more than a decade since Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer revealed their talents to the world as The Lonely Island with “Lazy Sunday,” an esoteric digital short on Saturday Night Live that took the world by storm in 2005. It would be four years after the sketch aired before the group’s collection of videos including “Like A Boss”, “Natalie’s Rap” and, of course, “I’m On A Boat” were compiled into the groundbreaking and Grammy-nominated Incredibad.
In addition to reinventing the form and criteria for an SNL sketch with their shorts (ahem, “J*zz In My Pants”), The Lonely Island’s debut album had a large impact on the musical comedy world, revealing the possibilities for original comedic songwriting over parody, and paving the way for artists like Lil Dicky. Some have even gone as far as to say that the popularity of “Lazy Sunday” in late 2005 kickstarted the massive growth of Youtube and made its $1.65 billion sale to Google in 2006 possible.
When “Lazy Sunday” aired in 2005, few expected a world nearly 15-years later when we the comedy-rap trio would be dropping their fourth full-length project. We should have seen their career-artist potential coming when they unleashed the Akon-featuring “I Just Had Sex” in 2010. The anthem became recognizable around the world and was a hint that the group was en route to never stop never stopping.
The Lonely Island’s latest effort, The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience, takes cues from Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Frank Ocean’s Endless, really only in the sense that it dropped on Netflix as a 30-minute visual album with no notice. Sorry, The Lonely Island prefer to call it a “visual poem.”
But Bash Brothers also exists in a continuum a little closer to those aforementioned superstars than ever before, because of the objective quality of the songs that is immediately discernible. It almost doesn’t matter that they are all written from the point of view of Mark McGuire (played by Schaffer) and Jose Canseco (played by Samberg), who were together known as the album’s namesake “Bash Brothers” during their time playing for the Oakland Athletics in the late 1980s. Put simply, this is a collection of songs that are just very good.