Pau Gasol vs. Carlos Boozer: A musical analysis
Pau Gasol is going to the Chicago Bulls, and seemingly for the first time in his career Carlos Boozer is hustling so that the door won’t hit him on the way out.
Although the move may not be the sexiest free agent signing this off-season so far, it still leaves a number of unresolved questions with far-reaching implications for the Chicago Bulls and the rest of the league. Is it a smart move to replace one aging post player with another? How will Gasol’s defensive play mesh with all-star Joakim Noah’s? Will Boozer ever reveal the dark magic that sapped away his offensive prowess in exchange for such an immaculately trimmed beard?
We may never know the answers to those questions. But we do have one criteria that allows us to objectively judge the two big men: their musical performances. The only true way to determine which overrated player will contribute more effectively to the Bulls is by judging their forays into the musical realm according to five different components: Presentation, Song Choice, Ensemble Effort, Technical Proficiency, and Overall Aesthetic.
But first, the performances in question:
Pau Gasol, “How To Save A Life”
Twista, feat. Carlos Boozer & Mario Winans, “Winning Streak”
As you can see, this matchup will be about as ugly as a late season Jazz-Hornets game, featuring two artists with the subtle deftness of Chris Broussard but the entertainment value of watching Blake Griffin dunk on a Fisher-Price basketball hoop. Let’s get started.
Gasol: Gasol is just freaking going for it. There is no holding that Spaniard back as he lays it all on the line. You can hear the passion and heartbreak racking his voice as Gasol paces up and down the stage working himself into a rousing frenzy, all the while exuding the persona of a man who sang The Fray to himself regularly in the Staples Center showers.
Boozer: The first time I heard this song I thought that my friend had used a bootleg copy of Pro Tools to pull off the most elaborate joke ever. I wish that were true. The production is as poor as Dan Gilbert’s management, and almost as childish.
Gasol: A fan favorite of mothers and their 8th grade daughters everywhere, you’d be hard-pressed to find a song as vapidly banal as “How To Save A Life.” I’m guessing that Gasol listened to The Fray a lot when he got home from his middle school dances, adolescent head a tumescent swirl of hormones and frightening new thoughts, and that The Fray’s album really spoke to him. Maybe he really dug “Over My Head (Cable Car),” but thought that “How To Save A Life” spoke to something deeper — something more true, something essential to the human condition and experience in this world we live in but for a moment. And you know what? Gasol owned that shit on stage.
Boozer: Releasing a song titled “Winning Streak” right after your team got eviscerated by Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals may be the worst decision anybody affiliated with the NBA has ever done since somebody sold the Clippers to Donald Sterling.
Gasol: Gasol’s backing band sounds like what I imagine a live karaoke band in Wichita would sound like if they were told to play a Latin groove for the first time. The bongos provide some much-needed additional flavor to a keyboard that somehow manages to make a song by The Fray sound even more hackneyed than before.
Boozer: The only thing more impressive than Twista trying to come up with a word that rhymes with Tom Thibodeau is that Twista actually agreed to make this song. The use of the Bulls announcer at the intro is pretty great too, assuming you can suspend your disbelief long enough to believe that anybody could be that excited about saying the name of an overrated Duke graduate.
Gasol: Oof. Josh Smith’s three-point shot is more accurate than Gasol’s sense of pitch. Although I do love Gasol’s voice — it sounds to me like Bob Dylan got drunk at a Newport Beach tiki bar.
Boozer: To be fair, Boozer’s working with a pretty low degree of difficulty. What he does (e.g. “Mic check one two one two,” “Might go base line one time and abuse you / run back down the court like you know it was Boozer”) is simple, but at least he can execute it better than his high-post shot. His delivery may clod along like Boris Diaw after his daily Ben & Jerry’s run, but at least Boozer seems to know his limits here.
Gasol: The song choice is a huge red flag for Chicago, but the intense devotion and grit that Gasol brought to the stage should fit well with Coach Thibs’ system and expectations from his players.
Boozer: “Winning Streak” was an unfortunate omen of the Bulls season to come — so much promise, yet so much disappointment. Some say that it was the lockout shortened/accelerated season that killed Derrick’s knee. But we know the truth. Once you hear Booze rap that “I used to be another little fellow with some hoop dreams / Now I got the game laced up, shoe strings,” you’ll never be the same.
Pau Gasol, by the whiskers on his chinny chin chin.
That being said, it’s too bad the Bulls couldn’t land the greatest multi-faceted big man/lounge singer of our generation: