I think one of the problems I am having with This is Your Brain on Music is the fact that his musical world is so different from mine. He is almost always talking about the commercial product and calling that music. It's a world in which Kelly Clarkson is insulted because her producer asked her to record something already recorded by someone else.
In the classical world the performers have to redo pieces that have already been done hundreds of times before and still make them sound fresh. It is a world in which the abstract concept of the written notes is valued infinitely more than the specific performance. It's a different point of view.