First, great post. Absurdity is underrated.
Second, I agree a great muffin in general is difficult to find, or make at home. And from all muffins, blueberry is probably the hardest. And if you throw out the creaming method – because those are cakes – and define muffins as true quickbreads, it becomes harder still. There are the flavor profiles. How much, if any, lemon? Restrained use of blueberries or chock full? I imagine there are good versions of all of these. Frozen or fresh blueberries, does it make a difference? And if blueberries have been sitting in your freezer a while, they develop a tough skin which can ruin your muffin. Then there’s the methods. Some recipes have you rest the batter overnight. I think that produces an oddly gummy muffin, probably due to gluten development. (Also, the batter is very delicate because of leavening.) Others say crank up the heat to get that bakery style top. In my experience, while that gives you a good rise and great top, I always find the interior lacking (and any blueberries poking out get burned.) There are other concerns. Do you want a dome, or a mushroom-like muffin top? And, some bakers can magically distribute blueberries evenly inside a muffin. No matter how much I coat blueberries in flour before adding, or use techniques like this (that recipe is not a muffin in my book anyway), mine usually sink. I think there must be something about the large quantities of batters at bakeries, as well as their commercial baking pans and ovens (steam?), that is difficult to replicate at home. Like you, I can remember the very few times I’ve eaten great blueberry muffins.
Third, while spending way too much free time on this as usual, I came across a story about a department store in Boston which baked legendary blueberry muffins. I found what I consider the best recipe for those muffins. These muffins do require some creaming. Also, I am biased against shortening. I made them anyway (sugar on top not needed) just to experience a bit of food history. I closed my eyes and imagined a parallel reality where I grew up in Boston: I would be painfully bored all day as my mother shopped, but simultaneously excited about the blueberry muffins that awaited me before we headed home.
Finally, yes, I could talk about blueberry muffins all day. I hope you find that baker.