Let’s say we’re making a pizza from scratch. It’s pretty straightforward, actually. Crust, sauce, toppings, cheese; it’s rare to see extreme variation on the classic recipe. So what distinguishes a good pizza from a bad pizza? It’s not the way it’s cooked in the oven. If it’s undercooked or overcooked, it’s not a bad pizza – it is an INCORRECT pizza. You didn’t make a bad artistic decision, you’ve just objectively and observably screwed it up.
It’s not the way the toppings are assembled, either… It does matter a tiny bit which order the toppings go on, but there’s more common sense than special talent involved in placing them in a way that makes sense. Obviously, choice of toppings matters, but if you are putting peanut butter and gasoline on your pizza, it is once again simply incorrect rather than a bad artistic choice.
What makes a good pizza is good ingredients, and generosity with the sauce and cheese. So to relate this to music, I have learned to spend time with each individual track in a song, making sure that each element sounds as good as it possibly can before mixing them together. I should also eat breakfast, since I seem to be spending my time relating production to food instead of actually producing.