WHAT??? Have you been on the Internet lately??? That's all anyone does is discuss music!
Not exactly. And here's why....
Music, more than any other art form, is more a creative exercise of the heart and soul, than of the mind. The musician compiles something based on what's in their own soul. I've met a number of musicians who sit wringing their hands when they release their record or single or MP3 or whatever it is, based on the decade, waiting for the responses. (Disclaimer: I'm talking about people I've met personally. I have no idea if Barry fits this description, I've never met the man.)
There are all kinds of responses. Some truly love what they hear. Some will say they love it without really paying attention because they love the musician's image, and/or are trying to suck up to him. Some hate it, but are afraid to say so; they are concerned that anything not gushingly positive will hurt the musician's feelings, or will get an outraged flood of emails in their box. Some hate it and say so with gusto. A few others are unfazed; you couldn't pay them enough to give a shit.
Some of these guys hear the responses and think, "Wait, that's not what I wrote! Where are they getting this? They're describing something totally wrong!"
They're half right. The part that's right is the listeners are not responding to what they wrote. They're responding to what they heard. When someone hears a new piece of music they have no choice but to bring a part of themselves to it - what they hear is a combination of the creation and their own experiences. The music becomes something new for each person who hears it.
So when someone genuinely loves a piece of music, the musician found a way to connect with them on an emotional level that a lot of people can't. That's why some of the most personal songs (the ones almost too personal to release) are the most successful. Think "Faithfully" from Journey (never intended to be released) or Barry's "All the Time" - a song that dares to spell out isolation and vulnerability in terms most people are afraid to admit.
On the other hand, if someone hates a piece of music, you can't blame the musician for that, necessarily. No one has any control over the experiences that each person brings to the listening. So if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. You also can't blame the listener for not parotting back what the musician was thinking, or intended. Two different souls hear (feel?) two different things.
The ultimate in a musician connecting with an audience - whether they love the creation or hate it - is if it inspires the listener to create something in response. Look around - YouTube videos, blogs (including this one), karaoke (including the American Idol auditions, which I'm being subjected to as I type this....). Even if the response is critical, or "negative" as some of my musical acquaintances call it, it's still an inspired response. I don't know how many times I had to say it, "Look you got a reaction out of them! Most times they wouldn't care!" It doesn't seem to help but it is the truth.
With the Internet, said musicians can see the writing or video or other "inspirations". How many times do they think, "Geez, is THAT what they got from what I did???"
And the cycle repeats.