Who are the most significant musical artists in the United States today? That is the question that this list attempts to answer. Today features number 15 through 11, including pop stalwarts and a country superstar.
15 – Mumford & Sons
The critics love to dismiss the MOR stylings of Mumford & Sons, but that is unlikely to bother the folk-pop revivalists too much. They have received a Grammy nomination in each of the past three years and won Album of the Year for Babel in 2013. Babel was one of the five best-selling albums of 2012 and has sold over 2.5 million units. Their 2012 single “I Will Wait” was one of the biggest rock hits of its year.
14 – Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan is not quite a crossover country pop star, but within country proper his success over the past two years is nearly unequaled. His 2011 album Tailgates and Tanlines was the sixth best-selling album of 2012 and has since gone double platinum. His follow up, 2013’s Crash My Party, was the ninth best-selling album of 2013 and has sold 1.8 million units. He’s currently enjoying a very successful 2014, so do not expect him to go away anytime soon.
13 – Maroon 5
Maroon 5 has been one of the most consistent commercial performers of the last decade, but 2012 was a particularly stellar year for the group. The band’s album Overexposed produced the hit singles “Daylight,” “Payphone,” and “One More Night” while selling over 1.4 million copies. The album had enough legs to spill over into 2013 with the modest (by their standards) hit “Love Somebody.”
12 – P!nk
The acrobatic pop star has scored big hits in each of the past three years, making her one of the most reliable commercial performers in the industry. Her 2012 album The Truth about Love was among the best-selling releases of both 2012 and 2013. “Just Give Me a Reason” was one of the biggest hits of 2013 and was nominated for a Song of the Year Grammy. It might be time for her to mix up her Grammy performance routine a bit though.
11 – Justin Timberlake
The multi-talented Justin Timberlake is among the biggest stars in the world today. His music was sidelined for several years while he pursued a successful acting career, but he came back strong in 2013. The 20/20 Experience was the best-selling album of 2013. It was the source of a bevy of hit singles and was met with strong reviews. The 20/20 Experience Part 2 was less successful—being essentially a collection of B-sides—but still ranked among the 50 best-selling albums of 2013. I can’t wait for his comeback in 2020.
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