My Top 10: Alternative/Folk Artists

Hey y’all! It has been quite a while since I’ve written a Top 10 post for you and I figured I would do something fun, a top 10 of my favorite type of music, alternative rock and folk. When I was younger, and we are talking freshman year of high school here, I came across a band called Mumford and Sons. From this moment on, I became obsessed with folk and alternative music and I haven’t looked back. So, here is a list of my current top 10 favorite artists/bands in this area.

Mumford and Sons – As I said in the intro, I came across this band as a young teenaged girl. I honestly am not exaggerating when I say this band changed my perception of music. I went from listening to the top 40 hits or my dad’s old 80’s music to listening to alternative rock and folk rock music. I went from listening to (and sorry if I offend anyone) music with little to no meaning, to music that singers sang with pain behind their voice because the meaning of the song was so personal and painful. Mumford and Sons changed everything for me and I will forever be grateful for them. They will always hold that #1 place in my heart, as Queen does for my dad. My favorite songs by them are “Guiding Light,” “Winter Winds,” “Hopeless Wanderer,” and “Whispers in the Dark.”

Cold War Kids – Another great band! A band that is so close to stealing that #1 spot in my heart, but not yet there. Through all the changes of my life as a young adult, I turned to Cold War Kids songs to help cope. The raw intensity behind this lead singers voice gives me goosebumps every single time I listen to a few of the songs. If you haven’t given them a listen, you need to. Honestly, I bet you’ve heard a few of their songs. If you ever watched Gossip Girl or the Vampire Diaries, they have SO MANY of their songs in those shows. If you watch TV, one of their songs was used in a car commercial for quite a while. I bet you’d recognize it – it is called “First”. Other amazing and must listen to songs by them are “We Used to Vacation,” “Restless,” “All This Could Be Yours,” and “Hang Me Up to Dry.” Side note: I cried when I first saw them live. Absolutely AMAZING!

Cage the Elephant – I came across this band shortly after discovering Mumford and Sons, so I’ve been a fan for quite a while. I haven’t been the biggest fan of every single thing that they have released over the years, but I still stick with them. They make great music. Even when I dislike a few of their songs, they win awards for them on a massive scale! So if you don’t trust my opinion, at least trust the opinion of some very important critic folk. A few of my favorites by them are “Cigarette Daydreams,” “Shake Me Down,” and “Take It or Leave It.”

Imagine Dragons – Honestly, Imagine Dragons is one of the few bands that literally never disappoints me. I haven’t heard one of their songs and thought, “I don’t like this one.” I love every single one of their songs, although I can’t say the same for my fiancé, Kevin. He only likes a select few of their songs, so they don’t get played too often in the car. Although he isn’t the biggest fan, there are tons of fans out there for this amazing Las Vegas native band. If you haven’t heard one of their songs (although I highly doubt this is even possible), check them out. Here are a few of my favorites: “I Bet My Life,” “Born To Be Yours,” “Shots,” “Monster,” and “Walking the Wire.” Warning: It was incredibly difficult for me to narrow this list down, just listen to EVERYTHING! 

Arctic Monkeys – This U.K. band has such a different sound to me, but it is one that I really like. If I were to compare them to someone else on this list, I would say they are kind of similar in sound to Cage the Elephant. I discovered Arctic Monkeys back in high school while listening to my hometowns alternative radio station. I instantly became interested because of their unique sound and dove deep into their music. When I was in college in 2013, their sound was described by the Rolling Stone as “high-energy pub jams, they embraced everything from Nineties hip-hop (Dr. Dre, Outkast) to the sludgy attack of Seventies rock.” I hope that this description of them intrigues at least a few of you to give them a chance! Some of my go to songs for them are “I Wanna Be Yours,” “Do I Wanna Know?,” “R U Mine?,” and “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?.”

Bastille – As many others, I was introduced to Bastille when the song “Pompeii” went BIG! I didn’t just stop there though. Bastille quickly became one of my favorite bands. I can tell it is them any time one of their songs comes on the radio, even if I don’t know it, because the lead singers voice is so distinct. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I first heard Marshmello’s new song “Happier” and instantly realized it was Bastille doing the vocals. Such a perfect combination for such an amazing song with great meaning behind it. It was also great just to have my two favorite genres of music collide. Other songs that I absolutely love and you should check out are “Things We Lost In The Fire,” “Flaws,” “Oblivion,” and “Of The Night.”

Young the Giant – Another band that I discovered in high school and just love listening to over and over. If you can’t tell already, I am a little set in my ways about who are my top favorite bands of this genre. Once I decide I like something, I rarely deviate from that path. This band, to me at least, has a very upbeat sound. I really enjoyed listening to this music to run/workout to, or just to listen to whenever I felt really happy. Songs I always listen to by them include “Cough Syrup,” “My Body,” “Mind Over Matter,” and “It’s About Time.”

Sir Sly – This is going to sound weird, but they are one of my favorite bands without me even listening to a lot of their music. I came across Sir Sly when I started to move away from listening to solely alternative music. I started branching out and listening to Country, EDM, Rap, etc. when I discovered them, so I didn’t really dive super deep into their music. From the few songs I have heard though, I have really loved. One of their songs is actually one of my favorite all-time songs, “You Haunt Me.” Writing this now makes me want to dive deeper into their music. I suggest you do the same! 

The Lumineers – Alright, so of course I have them on here. I don’t know how you could be a fan of folk music and not like The Lumineers. The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons are definitely my top 2 favorite folk bands. You can’t get much better than this. I hope one day that I can see The Lumineers live, because I have heard that they are absolutely amazing. If you like folk music and haven’t heard of this band, you need to stop reading this immediately and listen to their songs! OH WAIT! Hold on, first here are a few of my favorite songs: “Ho Hey,” “Ophelia,” “Stubborn Love,” and “Scotland.” I will warn that “Scotland” is a theme song for one of my favorite TV shows, Reign. It may be a little hard to find anywhere outside of YouTube. 

Hozier – Last, but not least, we have a very popular Irish folk singer, Hozier. I’m sure you’ve heard his hit song “Take Me to Church.” I hope that you, like me, decided to dive deep into this man’s music to hear more of his beautiful voice. If not, shame on you! He keeps releasing amazing music and you should be keeping up! Here are a few of my favorite songs by him: “Like Real People Do,” “Someone New,” “To Be Alone,” and “Run.”

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