Mumford & Sons open their second album with this title track, which is named after the Genesis story about the origin of different languages wherein the people are punished for attempting to build a tower to reach the heavens.
String bassist and guitarist Ted Dwayne told Rolling Stone that the song speaks about human discontent, one of the themes of the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel.
Frontman Marcus Mumford's parents are leaders of the evangelical Vineyard Church in the UK, and the album title is one of many biblical references dusted throughout the album. However, when The Independent asked Mumford how important religion is to the band, he replied: "No. Religion is not at all," before adding. "Faith is. We each have individual beliefs. Our values are pretty shared otherwise we wouldn't do well on the road. Faith is a more spiritual thing."
Babel debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart. The first week sales figure of 600,000 was the biggest week for a rock album since AC/DC's Black Ice racked up 784,000 units in its first seven days.
Buoyed by a huge amount of streaming, five Babel tracks joined "I Will Wait" on the Hot 100 in the week after the release of the album. - The title track (# 60), "Lover's Eyes" (#85), "Whispers in the Dark" (#86), "Holland Road" (#92) and "Ghosts That We Knew" (#94) all debuted on the tally. In doing so, Mumford & Sons became the first band to chart as many as six concurrent Hot 100 titles since the Beatles in the week of September 19, 1964.
According to Spotify, one out of every 10 of the American users of the music streaming site played a song from Babel in its first seven days of release. The 8 million streams broke Spotify's records for most streams from an album in a single week.
Babel won Album of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Earlier in the afternoon, the band got their first ever Grammy for their role in the long-form video winner Big Easy Express, a documentary about the 2011 Mumford & Sons-led Railroad Revival Tour.