But after all that, I'm pretty clear on what music matters. What music is truly significant and important. This is a personal view, of course and I can sketch out why I think so, so you can come to your own conclusions.
Most music is pretty bad: predictable, cliched and shallow. Some music is exotic and possibly interesting, but too remote to be meaningful (this depends on your perspective, of course). A small amount of music is profound, interesting, moving and brilliantly creative. Here are examples of each:
You might say, it's all relative. If you listen to a lot of the first type of music, all the recent pop stuff, then you will probably find the other two pieces I put up, by Machaut and Bach, to be unutterably dreary and depressing. Or if you tend to listen to lots of Bach, you will probably be irritated and annoyed by the pop stuff. But I think the real difference is not just what you are used to. The more closely you look at generic pop music, the more you can see how it is an industrial product, like processed cheese. It is full of snappy, poppy rhythms (Latin, in this case), has a video with pretty pictures and good-looking singers, but really, this is just, like a thousand others, Ricky Martin's "La Vida Loca" regurgitated. The Machaut is an acquired taste, but pretty remote from us. But if you dig into Bach, you discover the opposite to the pop example. The more you look at it, the more interesting it is. The whole piece is based on a single theme: six long notes. That's it. No fancy rhythms. The style is virtually archaic by this point in time. No concessions to fashion. And the result is a piece of astonishing depth. Go ahead, go back and listen to them all again...
So what it comes down to is, for me, there really are only about four and a half composers that stand out in all of music: Bach, Haydn, Beethoven and Shostakovich. The half? Well, that would be Mozart. Amazing, lovely music, but sandwiched in between Haydn, who invented this style and Beethoven who expanded it to the heavens.
Narrow-minded, that's me!