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Hope Springs Eternal

A northern suburb tops our third installment of rating greater Houston's taste in music

9. The Essential Johnny Cash

10. Some Hearts, Carrie Underwood

11. Back to Bedlam, James Blunt

12. Celtic Woman

13. In Between Dreams, Jack Johnson

14. It's Time, Michael Bublé

15. Ancora, Il Divo

A list like this just underlines what a music business genius American Idol's Simon Cowell truly is. (Note I said "music business" and not "music.") For one thing, both the Underwood and Il Divo CDs are products wholly or in part of his devising, and for another, you get the idea that he studied lists like these before he conceived of Idol. Few if any American record execs know the listening tastes of the American suburbs as well as Cowell. He is the King of Soccer-momcore.

League City

1. Doobie Brothers Greatest Hits

2. Bob Seger -- Greatest Hits

3. High School Musical soundtrack

4. The Greatest Songs of the Fifties, Barry Manilow

5. Walk the Line soundtrack

6. It's Time, Michael Bublé

7. Michael Bublé

8. Andrea Bocelli -- Amore

9. In Between Dreams, Jack Johnson

10. Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson

11. Back to Bedlam, James Blunt

If the one-two punch at the top of the LC's list is any indication, down there they like their rockers bearded and old. It's near Galveston Bay, so the Doobies' comp makes sense for Yacht Rock outings, but why Seger? Elsewhere, you get the usual nod to Cash, and more soccer-momcore.

Missouri City

1. Buzz Buzz, Laurie Berkner

2. Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield

3. Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, Arctic Monkeys

4. Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall

5. Andrea Bocelli -- Amore

6. It's Time, Michael Bublé

7. Walk the Line soundtrack

8. High School Musical soundtrack

Berkner's CD is children's music. The only real standouts are Monk and the Monkeys. (Does Mo City have lots of UK expats?)

Bellaire

1. Elton John Greatest Hits, 1970-2002

2. From Under the Cork Tree, Fall Out Boy

3. Jersey Boys cast recording

4. Back to Bedlam, James Blunt

5. Singalongs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George, Jack Johnson

6. Andrea Bocelli -- Amore

7. Walk the Line soundtrack

Bellaire's always been a wusscore hub. And what is wusscore, you ask? Lame soft rock by guys like Blunt, Johnson, John Mayer and Dave Matthews, of the type favored by wealthy college and high school kids of both genders. Muzak for Bubble Boys and Girls.

Humble

1. All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison

2. The Best of Bread

3. Timeless, Martina McBride

4. Ricky Nelson -- His Greatest Hits

5. Paint the Sky with Stars -- Enya's Greatest Hits

6. Crash soundtrack

7. Celtic Woman

8. High School Musical soundtrack

9. One Tree Hill, Volume 2

10. X&Y, Coldplay

11. Andrea Bocelli -- Amore

12. Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson

13. Get Lifted, John Legend

14. Wreck of the Day, Anna Nalick

15. Michael Bublé

16. Back to Bedlam, James Blunt

17. Il Divo

18. Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, Tim McGraw

Humble is well acquainted with the raw power of really smooth music. If you had to navigate the Eastex Freeway every day of your life, you'd probably feel the same way. What's the deal with the Bread revival up there? Pretty wack list after No. 2.

Pearland

1. All the Right Reasons, Nickelback

2. See You on the Other Side, Korn

3. Eagles: The Very Best Of boxed set

4. Back to Bedlam, James Blunt

5. Baby Einstein Lullaby Classics

6. Singalongs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George, Jack Johnson

7. For Me It's You, Train

8. High School Musical

9. American Idiot, Green Day

10. Eye to the Telescope, KT Tunstall

11. Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson

12. Some Hearts, Carrie Underwood

13. Celtic Woman

14. Andrea Bocelli -- Amore

15. Brokeback Mountain soundtrack

16. The Breakthrough, Mary J. Blige

17. It's Time, Michael Bublé

Holy Mother of God, what a ghastly, abysmal, dreadful heap of crap. City of Pearland! Hang your head in shame! Any town where there are unusually high numbers of Korn and Nickelback listeners terrifies me, and then you've got both wusscore and soccer-momcore in strength. Surprising to see the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack on the list, and not just because we didn't know they swung that way down there. It's just astonishing to see something with as much good music on it (Willie, Emmylou, Steve Earle, Rufus Wainwright) selling well in Pearland.

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