Last night I went to a performance of Shostakovich's #5, and I gotta say, I just don't get the whole atonal thing! Where my feelings are now is that, with no tonic center, there are never any resolutions. And also never any expectations. It seems like everywhere the piece goes is a surprise! And well, if everything is a surprise, surprises lose their value significantly. So to me, the piece feels like a disorienting, meandering bunch of nonsense.
BUT! I might be willing to concede that I just need some practice listening to atonal stuff, and that I just am not educated enough to know what to listen for. Can anyone help me out? What is it that I'm missing?