1. Mumford & Sons
“I Will Wait” (2012)
With its raging banjos, four-four stomp and romantic/spiritual lyrics, this is the ultimate folk-pop smash.
“Wake Me Up!” (2013)
Avicii combined retro soul and retro folk with crooner Aloe Blacc for this EDM smash, which has sold 4.7 million downloads, according to Nielsen Music.
3. Of Monsters & Men
“Little Talks” (2011)
Bursting with horns and “heys!,” this ebullient tune turned the Icelandic quintet into superstars.
4. The Lumineers
“Ho Hey” (2012) This once-ubiquitous ditty reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was covered by Jimmy Fallon, Blake Shelton and Nick Offerman as “The Chickeneers.”
5. Vance Joy
Ukulele? Check. Thumping bass kick? Check. Lovelorn lyrics? Check. Arena-folk at its finest.
6. One Direction
“Story of My Life” (2013)
Boy bands are cultural appropriators by definition, so no one blinked when 1D borrowed Mumford & Sons’ acoustic exuberance for one of its biggest hits.