The album Who's Next by The Who has been on my playlist a lot lately.
One of the most striking aspects of the music is how it triumphs to the point where any imperfections in the sonic tapestry become insignificant. The drums sound like they were entirely recorded at a distance- a move which would be considered unforgivable in a modern rock recording. Still, here I am, not giving a damn, because I'm feeling it. (Coincidentally, it wouldn't be the first time this has happened for me with an album from that era.)
I've been thinking about how this relates to modern digital recording and the online culture that surrounds home-recording. If you go to the Recording Studio section of this forum, you can find many guides that pertain to making things sound a particular way or to fitting into a particular aesthetic. Likewise, there are many well-intentioned posts giving perfectly valid advice about how to improve the sonic quality of one thing or another- something that I've participated in, too.
But here's a question: if you, at one point or another, were one of the individuals giving feedback about some aspect of the recording quality of a submission- and if all your feedback were taken into account and all the sonic deficiencies of the audio rectified- would that make you care more about the music at hand? Would it transform the music into something you'd want to come back to, again and again?
Great music is still great, even with lackluster production. Great production can't make terrible music better.