FWIW, I find that I usually need to get away from the performing of a tune to help listen for these sorts of things. Some of the last tunes I tried to record were ones I don't think I'd ever heard a recording of, separate from me playing it, and it's fascinating how much can change in my own consumption of the song as a pure listener.
Shape and whatnot is additionally difficult because some shapes work really well, but require more work on the part of the listener to kind of learn the shapes before they can appreciate them. When we have a society of lazy listeners and artists that cater to them, we don't do much exploring of shape. (Wow, did I just say that? I like that).
Half the reason I'm amazed I said that is that I'm a huge proponent of “artist as servant” -- doing for others with music (or whatever medium) that others can't do for themselves. The trick with any servant leadership is meeting the /true/ needs of the followers, and true needs are not always conscious or pleasurable. ... There's an odd tension there in trying to figure out, what should I as an artist actually /do/? [see also AJobForArtists]
The latest Pat Metheny Group album is an interesting statement in regard to shape: 1 track, 68 minutes long :-) A conscious effort on their part to protest against the increasing minimalizing of music. Thing is, my first one or two listens through, I didn't get it. It all sounded like a random collage of compositional ideas. Each idea was cool, but some of the transitions made no sense to me. But, additional listens are growing on me. An interesting experiment.