“Take a good strong structure and make it messy.” That’s an excellent description of a certain quite important approach to art rock and it’s something I like a lot as well. (Problems arise, however, when people ape the messiness and leave out the structure… particularly when it comes to the actual songwriting.)
Intellectually compelling “content” and virtuoso musicianship don’t necessarily result in something worthwhile, and in fact often produce its opposite. Whereas something that hits you in the gut and just feels true always works, and in fact often turns out to have much more depth than the fancy-pants alternatives. “You Really Got Me” or “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” will always win with me.
That said, however, the prejudice I’ve described isn’t a good way to sort this stuff out. I think you have to be willing to consider things on their own terms rather than rejecting them unheard. I used to think that’s what I did, but realized in the writing of this essay that I wasn’t doing it as much as thought I was. Yes was the grand test, really, and it turns out I did find something to appreciate. Even if I hadn’t, though, listening was a good thing to do and I figure what I’ve learned is, I should do it more often.