hmmm. a pretty open-ended question, i'd say.
it's really hard for me to listen to music for pure enjoyment, I'm sorry to say. Hard for me NOT to try to pick a performance apart - deconstruct a recording - and micro-evaluate features within a piece of work. criticizing processing is a bit of an obsession with me, and i'd like to think i've gotten pretty good at it.
so, thinking about it, the most impressive things that i hear these days are those recordings that somehow *resist* this effort... recordings with staggering integrity, or overweening art, or provocative idiosyncrasies really get my attention. recordings of great beauty and detail.
i've recently heard a rough from an artist i really respect, Jennifer Warnes. she's taken several years to make a stunning new record, which i hope to mix.
i don't need to tell you, there's not an auto-tuned track anywhere in sight.
on the issue of "real sounds": after i listen to what a given instrument sounds like out in the studio or on the stage, and listen to a demo (if available) and find out where a project is going, i'm pretty much trying to match some sound or sounds to what's going on in my head, and trying to get it closer and closer to that. how i do it is more explained by Al Schmidt: "i just turn the knobs till it sounds right."