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Never Go to a Party in Friendswood

Where does your town rank in the Houston-area good-taste stakes?

A couple of years ago, we used Amazon.com sales data to examine the musical tastes of Houston and the suburbs. This time we've done that one better by ranking each municipality's taste -- we assigned each CD a rating of one to five stars, added them up and took the average score.

And lo and behold, just like last time, Friendswood is again the H-town area's Squaresville. (And it wasn't even close.) To find out the best, you'll just have to read on, but I will tell you this: This year, several of the burbs bested Houston…

(Note: This data measures what sells uniquely well, not what sells best overall. In other words, this stuff sells better in Houston or Conroe than anywhere else.)

13. Friendswood

1. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Christmas Eve and Other Stories*

2. Hilary Duff, Most Wanted**

3. Wicked soundtrack**

4. Nickelback, All The Right Reasons*

5. Kenny Chesney, The Road and the Radio**

6. Various artists, Now, Vol. 20***

7. Walk the Linesoundtrack**

8. Enya, Amarantine*

9. Rentsoundtrack**

10. Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business*

11. Coldplay, X&Y****

12. Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman**

Avg.: 1.92

Notes: Coldplay passes for sophistication down there off FM 2351. Not good.

12. Missouri City

1. Brad Paisley, Time Well Wasted****

2. Enya, Amarantine*

3. Nickelback, All The Right Reasons*

4. Michael Bublé, It's Time**

5. The Killers, Hot Fuss**

6. Coldplay, X&Y****

7. Eric Clapton, Back Home**

8. The Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang**

9. Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman**

Avg.: 2.22

Notes:Anywhere Enya's ridiculously soothing sounds are popular has to be stressful. (See also Friendswood, Humble, League City, Richmond, Bellaire, Pasadena, Conroe and Baytown.)

11. Conroe

1. Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business*

2. Enya, Amarantine*

3. Carly Simon, Moonlight Serenade***

4. The Essential Johnny Cash*****

5. Wicked soundtrack**

6. Michael Bublé, It's Time**

Avg.: 2.3 10. (tie) Humble

1. Roy Orbison, Black & White Night****

2. Mercy Me, The Christmas Sessions**

3. Wicked soundtrack**

4. 10 Years, The Autumn Effect**

5. Rascal Flatts, Feels Like Today*

6. U2, Best of 1980-1990*****

7. Mitch Hedberg, Mitch All Together****

8. Jars of Clay, Redemption Songs**

9. Mitch Hedberg, Strategic Grill Locations****

10. Casting Crowns, Lifesong*

11. Michael Bublé, It's Time**

12. Chris Botti, When I Fall in Love**

13. Enya, Amarantine*

14. Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman**

15. Pink Floyd, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd*****

16. Various artists, More Than 50 Best Loved Hymns**

17. Trans-Siberian Express, The Lost Christmas Eve*

18. Carrie Underwood, Some Hearts**

19. Herb Alpert, Whipped Cream & Other Delights****

20. Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company**

Avg.: 2.5

Notes: Welcome to the Deep South, where dead junkie comedians vie for attention alongside Christian rockers and all-American pop stars.

10. (tie) League City

1. Enya, Amarantine*

2. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Lost Christmas Eve*

3. The Bee Gees, Their Greatest Hits*****

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire soundtrack**

5. Wicked soundtrack**

6. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Facing Future****

7. Nickelback, All The Right Reasons*

8. Kelly Clarkson, Breakaway***

9. Rascal Flatts, Feels Like Today*

10. Depeche Mode, Playing the Angel***

11. Coldplay, X&Y****

12. Madonna, Confessions on a Dance Floor***

Avg.: 2.5

Notes:Kamakawiwo'ole was an outrageously talented and flamboyantly obese native Hawaiian singer made famous on the mainland by an episode of E.R.and a couple of TV spots. And I'm told that League City is home to many transplanted Polynesians.

9. Richmond

1. Kenny Rogers, The Gift*

2. Steve Tyrell, Songs of Sinatra***

3. Brooks and Dunn, Hillbilly Deluxe***

4. INXS, Switch**

5. Wicked soundtrack**

6. Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman**

7. Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison*****

8. Kelly Clarkson, Breakaway***

9. Il Divo, The Christmas Collection**

10. Gorillaz, Demon Days****

11. Michael Bublé, It's Time**

12. Barbra Streisand, Guilty Pleasures**

13. Madonna, Confessions on a Dance Floor***

14. Diana Krall, Christmas Songs***

15. Enya, Amarantine*

Avg.: 2.53

Notes:This list seems somehow even worse than Friendswood's, but at least Richmond folks were smart enough to buy a real Johnny Cash CD instead of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon's karaoke version.

8. Bellaire

1. Wicked soundtrack**

2. INXS, Switch**

3. Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall*****

4. The Essential Johnny Cash*****

5. Rentsoundtrack**

6. Walk the Linesoundtrack**

7. Kelly Clarkson, Breakaway***

8. U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb****

9. Enya, Amarantine*

10. Neil Young, Prairie Wind****

11. Bonnie Raitt, Souls Alike***

12. Madonna, Confessions on a Dance Floor***

13. Nickelback, All the Right Reasons*

14. Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business*

15. Rod Stewart, Thanks for the Memory: The Great American Songbook IV*

Avg.: 2.6

Notes:Bellaire's top 12 are for the most part solid picks, but after that comes a train wreck of immense proportions -- putrid rock, rancid rap and dreadful standards. Bellaire, you coulda been a contender.

7. Katy

1. Kevin Fowler, Loose Loud and Crazy****

2. The Marshall Tucker Band, Anthology: The First 30 Years****

3. Steve Tyrell, Songs of Sinatra***

4. David Crowder Band, A Collision****

5. George Strait, Somewhere Down in Texas***

6. Anastasiasoundtrack**

7. Wicked soundtrack**

8. Carrie Underwood, Some Hearts**

9. Roy Orbison, Black & White Night****

10. Kingdom of Heaven soundtrack**

11. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Alone in IZ World****

12. Gary Allan, Tough All Over****

13. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants soundtrack***

14. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Beethoven's Last Night*

15. My Chemical Romance, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge***

16. Rent soundtrack**

17. Alexz Johnson, Songs from Instant Star**

18. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Lost Christmas Eve*

19. Rascal Flatts, Feels Like Today*

20. Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman**

Avg.: 2.65

Notes:Katy's penchant for Trans-Siberian Orchestra, bland soundtracks and Rascal Flatts (quite possibly the worst widely popular band in America in any genre) drags down their average, but there is some really good stuff on here too. Crowder was a surprise to me -- a Christian artist who makes great music, and Fowler, Strait, Allan and the Marshall Tucker Band all go down easy with a brew or two. Also, angsty as they are, My Chemical Romance is still a cut above most of the shite on the Buzz these days.

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