Link's Awakening is such an underrated gem. I always find pretty interesting seeing how different games get people hooked into the series and how that make their experience differ with others and as time goes on how what seems to be the consensus changes. haha.
I played Link's Awakening for the first time on my game boy. They lent it for just one day. Eventually I got my own copy and I got hooked. People talk often of Majora's Mask like the first Zelda game with dark elements and I get, Link's Awakening was deceptively cheerful and on a handheld. However I really enjoyed the island. exploring it and getting to know their characters. I really liked Marin. The area is full of things, I really loved all the different regions and monster and characters.
Maybe it was my age but that game left me some impact. The fact that you start as a hero and slowly descend into the implications of what it means to continue the journey were interesting. I know the cameos of some characters are hit-and-miss. For me many of them I am still finding out years after that they were from other games. I think I only recognized Mario Bros. related ones at the time.
I think your opinion is refreshing. I was surprised that Dampé's shack was one of the points you enjoyed. It received a lot of criticism but for what it is, it seemed like an intriguing idea. I definitely enjoy the aesthetic they went for when they remade the game for the switch, these textures are really colorful and look like the plastic toys I used to play with. It is very charming and I am glad Nintendo didn't just recycled what they had.
I totally agree with the music. Tal Tal Heights and Mari's Ballad of the Wind Fish song are so beautiful.