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Queen Norah reigns, Josh Groban pains, and lots of Natalie Maines

The skinny:Norah rules the south side -- she took first place everywhere except Friendswood, where she came in second. They also love them some Dixie Chicks along the Gulf Freeway. Pearland seems to be an island of liberalism and hippiedom. Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac and Santana appear on their music list, and their book chart is topped by The Hobbit boxed set, and Michael Moore's book Stupid White Menalso makes the cut. (Moore's book also made the list in neighboring Friendswood, but so did Sean Hannity's Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism.) League City's preference for Mannheim Steamroller's Romantic Melodiesconjures icky images of NASA scientists in heat.

For the love of God and all that is decent in creation, never go to a party in Friendswood. You'll be serenaded by Rod Stewart's drecky remakes of pop standards, Groban's passionless pop-classical platitudes, the (formerly) Christian metal of Evanescence and Toby Keith's apelike bluster. Friendswood has the worst taste in music of any town from the Sabine to the Brazos.

Anyone know why a Siberian bluegrass band such as Bering Strait would be so popular in Galveston?

Lay bawls the milk cow blues, while Sting claims it's a 
brand new day.
Joe Forkan
Lay bawls the milk cow blues, while Sting claims it's a brand new day.
"Galileo Figaro, Caneck, Caneck! Scaramouche, 
Scaramouche, Chigaroogarem!"
DreamWorks
"Galileo Figaro, Caneck, Caneck! Scaramouche, Scaramouche, Chigaroogarem!"

Southwest and West Side

Missouri City (sales): 1. Room for Squares John Mayer 2. Come Away with Me Norah Jones 3. Elvis 30 No. 1 Hits 4. The Spirit Room Michelle Branch 5. The Rising Bruce Springsteen 6. Let Go Avril Lavigne 7. Elton John - Greatest Hits 1970-2002 8. Michael Bublé

Sugar Land (unique): 1. Elvis 30 No. 1 Hits 2. Come Away with Me Norah Jones 3. Audioslave 4. Live at Folsom Field - Boulder, Colorado Dave Matthews Band 5. Let Go Avril Lavigne 6. Room for Squares John Mayer 7. Get Rich or Die Tryin' 50 Cent 8. Back in the U.S. Live 2002 Paul McCartney9. Forty Licks Rolling Stones 10. Shaman Santana

Katy (unique):1. Mamma Mia! soundtrack 2. Home Dixie Chicks 3. Let Go Avril Lavigne 4. More Than You Think You Are Matchbox Twenty 5. Josh Groban

Richmond (sales): 1. Come Away with Me Norah Jones 2. Josh Groban 3. Home Dixie Chicks4. Back in the U.S. Live 2002 Paul McCartney 5. Gold: Greatest Hits ABBA

The skinny:Standards reign out toward the Brazos bottoms. Norah, Elvis, Elton, Michael Bublé, the Stones, ABBA, Groban and McCartney all have the Southwest and Katy Freeway commuters singing along in their Tahoes and Escalades. Their kids roll their eyes in the backseat and slap on the Avril-blaring headphones. John Mayer and Dave Matthews booms from the Jeeps, and as far as country goes, if it's not the Dixie Chicks, it's crap.

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