Top Folk Music of 2013

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


It’s that time of year again when we start looking back at the year that was. Here are my picks for the top folk music of 2013.

Mumford and Sons- Babel

British folk rock band Mumford & Sons’ second album Babel (2012) entered the UK chart at number one and the US Billboard 200 at number two, becoming the fastest-selling album of the year in the UK and Mumford & Sons’ most commercially successful album to date. The album was nominated in the 2014 Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Folk Album, winning the latter.

The Lumineers- Ho Hey

The Lumineers released their self-titled debut album on Dualtone Records in April 2012. The album peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified Platinum by the RIAA in August 2013. The album’s lead single “Ho Hey” reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Of Monsters and Men- Little Talks

Placing second on the year-end list of top folk music is the Icelandic group Of Monsters and Men and their hit song “Little Talks.” The five-member band formed in 2010 and rose to fame in 2011 with the release of their debut album “My Head Is an Animal.” The album produced three top folk songs, including “Little Talks,” which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Imagine Dragons- Radioactive

“Radioactive” is a song by American rock band Imagine Dragons for their major-label debut EP Continued Silence and later on their debut studio album Night Visions, as the opening track. “Radioactive” was first sent to modern rock radio on October 29, 2012 and ultimately became a sleeper hit, staying within the lower regions of the Billboard Hot 100 for 23 weeks before peaking at number three in the week of May 11, 2013, making it their first top five single. In late 2013, “Radioactive” received two Grammy Awards nominations for Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance, winning the latter. A remix of the song featuring rap verses from Kendrick Lamar was nominated for two Grammy Awards; Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song. The song reached number one in five countries including France and New Zealand and sold over 7 million copies worldwide in singles sales as well as track-equivalent streams.

Passenger- Let Her Go

By now, you’ve probably heard “Let Her Go” on the radio, or seen the beautiful video that went viral on YouTube. The song was released in July of 2012, but it didn’t start to become a huge hit until 2013.

There are so many things to love about this song. The lyrics are simple but powerful, and they’re sung with passion and emotion. The melody is catchy and easy to sing along to. And the guitar work is impressive but not overdone.

If you’re a fan of folk music, or just looking for a good song to sing along to, “Let Her Go” is definitely worth a listen.

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