One of the Greatest Songs Ever Recorded: “June Hymn” by The Decemberists!!!

For as long as I’ve been on the radio, and definitely for as long as I’ve been writing a blog, I will occasionally make a reference to a song being “One of the Greatest Songs Ever Recorded!” (GSER)

I would usually follow that by saying that I would eventually start a category for it, but then never get around to it.

Well, now I’m getting around to it!

It will pretty much follow the pattern of The Most Awesomest Song of the Day.

I’ll select a song to celebrate and then give my thoughts about it. Nothing really brand new here that hasn’t been done before. But since I have a website, I can collect them and lay out what my own greatest songs are.

My radio show, “Prime Time Theme Attic,”  is on Monday nights 8PM-10PM ET but is on hiatus because of the pandemic.

Here’s the link for when the show returns: )

Even though I always emphasize new music and artists, it’s always fun to take a short drive through the legendary artists, since they influenced those other artists!

But a song doesn’t have to be old or done by a legendary Theme Attic Hall of Fame member to be thus honored.

I can think of several songs that are only a few years old or less that I could identify as One of the Greatest Songs Ever Recorded.

On days that I spotlight a greatest song, it will take the place of The Most Awesomest Song of the Day.

This will be fun, and hopefully you will join me on my journey…at least sometimes!


I don’t have to go back very far for this one, and it’s one of my all-time favorite songs!

It’s Sunday, so how about a hymn?

I started at WHFR in December 2010.

“The King Is Dead”  by The Decemberists was released in January 2011.

It was one of the first records I explored at the station.

It’s an amazing album full of beautiful melodies and songs!

I first got hooked on “January Hymn,” a perfectly bleak melodic winter song.

But when spring and summer rolled around, the song I bonded with was “June Hymn!”

It’s a folk gem consisting of acoustic guitar, a mournful harmonica, some keyboard chording, and beautiful harmonies!

But it’s the imagery generated by the poetic lyrics that are really the soul of this song!

Look, I won’t even pretend that I know anything about poetry, but I love the rhyming patterns of the first two verses: a,a,b,b,b,b.

The words that rhyme in the first verse are day, sway, in, begin, wrens, again.

The next verse they’re line, vine, door, more, war, before.

They’re simple, but creative!

And the lyrics are so descriptive!

“The thrushes’ bleeding battle with the wrens/
Disrupts my reverie again.”


“Standing on the landing with the war
You shouldered all the night before.”

Alliteration! Internal rhymes! A vocabulary you couldn’t shake a Thesaurus at!

Reverie! Panoply! Barony!

Each line is almost its own work of art!

“A barony of ivy in the trees
Expanding out its empire by degrees
And all the branches burst abloom
In the boom
Heaven sent this cardinal maroon
To decorate our living room”

It’s not a red cardinal! It’s a cardinal maroon!

Late spring/early summer may be my favorite time of the year!

I’m in awe of all of the colors and stimuli all around me before the drudgery of the summer heat takes over.

One of my favorite flowers are bluebonnets. I’ve never seen yellow bonnets, but I’m pretty sure I’d probably like them if they look anything like bluebonnets.

They’re in the chorus, along with a whole lot of garland on the lawn!

And then the beautiful counter melody of the middle 8 is just perfect for the future reflection of whether the author gave his best to the perfect world in the song!

“And years from now when this old light
Isn’t ambling anymore
Will I bring myself to write
“I give my best to Springville Hill”

Colin Meloy’s wholly yearning vocal is just as tremendous as his songwriting for this holy “June Hymn!”

The other members who contributed to this diamond of a song are Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, Nate Query, and John Moen!

Any part of this song can make me cry.

It’s so beautiful!

I don’t know if this Springville Hill house ever existed in real life, but I can tell you it does in my mind!

This is probably the most played song in my personal life, as well as my show, for the past ten years! It’s at least Top 5!

One of the Greatest Songs Ever Recorded: “June Hymn” by The Decemberists!!!


If you like what you see, don’t forget to spread the word by hitting the “like” button on my Facebook page, Phil Maq!

#JuneHymn #TheDecemberists TheKingIsDead #PhilMaq #OneoftheGreatestSongsEverRecorde #GSER

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