On the importance of reference while mixing
I've been deliberatley mixing a song withouth a reference track for a good while, and I thought it was starting to sound pretty good. I then picked a reference that I thought would be close to what I'm after. Van Halen's 1984 album, just so you don't have to ask :)
My mix, the one I thought was beginning to sound pretty good, turns out to be muddy, severely lacking on the high end, crap at making room for the individual instruments even though there are only three.
Kids, listen to reference tracks all the while when you are mixing. Save the time, save the money.