CONTEST: Half Nelson soundtrack

I’m happy to announce that Obscure Sound and THINKFilm are teaming up to bring you a promotional giveaway of the soundtrack of the new movie Half Nelson, featuring Broken Social Scene. The movie tells the story of a young white junior high school teacher (Ryan Gosling) in the Bronx who somehow finds a way to reach out to his students, who are growing up in a conflicting society. Broken Social Scene and Billy Bragg head a very diverse soundtrack to the movie, which releases on August 11th.

“Broken Social Scene began in 1999, born of a theme that has become the stalwart of the band’s existence: friends in tough times. Feel Good Lost was an elegant debut developed by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning while cocooned in a basement all winter. Over the next year, BSS grew into a far more expansive live band. They were a mix of cagey vets and wide-eyed kids working on an experimental side-project. In October 2002, they released the critically acclaimed You Forgot it in People. The next two and half years were spent touring North America, Europe and Japan. In 2005, BSS went back into the studio with Toronto’s wunder-producer Dave Newfeld and recorded their self-titled follow-up to YFIIP. Broken Social Scene is described as a joyously chaotic record and is an apt aural representation of the band’s spirited yet chaotic friendship.”

We are giving away two albums. All you have to do to enter is make a comment to this post by listing your favorite Broken Social Scene or Billy Bragg song. On August 11th, I will randomly select a comment and e-mail whoever made it, informing them that they’ve won. I will then get their mailing address and we’ll mail them to the album. The tracklisting is below, along with a few MP3 samples of a few bands on the album.

01. Broken Social Scene – Stars & Sons
02. The Somnambulants – Evacuation
03. Rhymefest (featuring Samantha Ronson) – Wanted
04. Remy Balon – Black Hearts
05. Billy Bragg – A New England
06. Saigon – The Corner
08. Conjunto Cespedes – Na Ni Na
09. Baby Blak and King Honey – Just Begun
10. Dujeous – Sometimes
11. Rosey Grier – It’s Alright to Cry
12. The Marshall Tucker Band – Can’t You See
13. Broken Social Scene – Da Da Dada

Good luck!


Broken Social Scene – Stars



Billy Bragg – Richard



Billy Bragg and Wilco – Birds And Ships



Saigon – Out There




Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

Send your music to [email protected].


  1. I’m not very familiar with either Broken Social Scene or Billy Bragg – but I believe “Birds and Ships” was a song I enjoyed when I heard it on the radio.

  2. Favorite Billy Bragg song – “Greetings To The New Brunette”…

    Thanks 🙂

  3. Best Billy Bragg song has to be “St. Swithin’s Day” – one of the greatest heartbreak songs of all time, and conveyed with such emotion by only an electric guitar and Billy’s deadpan voice.

  4. I have a soft spot and love Billy Bragg’s “New England”. (I couldn’t leave BSS’ “Pacific Theme” unmentioned, though; the whole middle of that album is lovely.)

    – F.A.R. out

  5. Favourite Billy Bragg song: “The World Turned Upside Down”

    “We will not worship the god they serve – the god of greed that feeds the rich while poor men starve.”

  6. Favorite BSS song… “I’m Still Your Fag” especially for the line “It’s a possibility to live without lips.”

  7. Favourite Broken Social Scene song: “Looks Just Like the Sun”

    I would totally list my favourite Billy Bragg song but I sadly don’t know that much by him besides “A New England”…..I should get working on that.

  8. My favourite Billy Bragg song has always been “Must I paint you a picture”. It’s so beautiful that it’s hard not to cry while listening to it.

  9. I was thinking about which BSS song is my favourite the other day as I was sending my girlfriend some random favourites of mine. Eventually I decided upon Cause = Time
    The day after that I went on Amazon and ordered the single out of pure curiosity for the B-sides.
    Why are Canadian bands so poor at putting out B-sides. Bands such as Metric, DFA1979 and BSS seldom impress with nice “singles-packages”.

  10. My favorite Broken Social Scene song is “Stars and Sons” The song has such an infectious beat!

  11. Favorite BSS song is “I’m Still Your Fag” (same as Charlie’s comment above) or “Hotel” (thanks to WIRED’s mention of this one).

    For Billy Bragg, “California Stars” w/ Jeff Tweedy.

  12. of course, my favourite broken social scene tune to dance to is “almost crimes”. when feist unleashes her vocals, the track goes on fire!

    hopefully “half nelson” will open in accessible toronto theatres for me to catch a glimpse. oh ryan gosling. what a long way you’ve come since “breaker high”.

  13. I don’t think I could have an absolute favorite, but what I’m digging the most lately by Broken Social Scene is Major Label Debut.

  14. Oh, it’s hard to pick a Broken Social Scene favourite… iTunes tells me to go with Ibi Dreams Of Pavement, but I think it’s tied with acoustic Almost Crimes and Anthems For A Seventee Year-Old Girl.

  15. “It’s All Gonna Break” by Broken Social Scene.

    It’s all restrained, chaotic, rebellious and oh so inviting.
    And I’m all, “Sure, thanks for inviting me.”
    It’s all, “You’re welcome. Come back anytime.”

  16. “sexuality” – a modern day take on the complexities of the beauty of human relationships

  17. “Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl” is my all-time favourite BSS song. Cheers.

  18. Best Broken Social Scene Song: “Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl.” Mostly cause I have a thing for Emily Haines’ vocals
    Runner up- “I slept with Bonhomme at the CBC” – Good song, but mostly for the title

    Best Billy Bragg song is definitely “Levi Stubbs’ Tears” – kick ass guitar, and Billy really ‘paints the picture’ (if you know what I mean). Bragg’s “Waiting for the Great Leap Forward” is another favourite, awesome build up.

  19. my favourite BSS song is ‘Passport Radio’. its just super-calming and effortless.great experimental song! i love it!!

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