After a short two year break in between albums Taking Back Sunday released Tidal Wave, the band’s seventh studio album. It’s not their best work. In fact, I feel it’s one of their weakest efforts to date. I have realistic expectations too; I don’t expect them to write another Tell All Your Friends or even What It Is To Be. The band has matured over the years and have gone through some lineup changes, but listening to any song off Tidal Wave it would actually take you a while to realize that it’s Taking Back Sunday. And that is not a good thing. Even with that said, Tidal Wave is not a bad album. It’s just not a homerun and is completely forgettable.
Hopeless Records pulled out all the stops with packaging for the vinyl version of the album. The album, pressed as a double LP, comes housed in a gatefold jacket. The records themselves are housed in full color, printed dust sleeves which really ties the packaging together nicely. You’ll see what I mean when you look at the photos of everything below. The dust sleeves are not over the top in terms of grandeur, they’re subtle, but it works perfectly. Inside the gatefold jacket is where the lyrics are printed, and you’ll notice the imagery carry through inside the gatefold. And if that wasn’t enough, a foldout poster is included.
A download card is included for high quality 320 kbps MP3s. Thankfully it hasn’t happened yet, but don’t fret, or worse yet, go online complaining if you think your copy has ring wear. It’s part of the artwork and is there intentionally. The faux ring wear has been happening more and more lately with album art, especially with the growing popularity of vinyl over the years. With everything you get retail price on this record is around $25. A bit steep in my mind, but considering how nice the packaging is the price is easier to swallow. Especially compared to other labels who charge $25 or more for just a single LP stuffed into jacket without an insert or anything extra like that.
I mentioned above Hopeless pulling out all the stops with this release, and it can’t be more noticeable with how many variants they opted to go for. They’re definitely milking Taking Back Sunday. There are a total of seven variants for this, and the pressing info could not be more convoluted if you wanted it to be. It’s nice when a label/band want to stick with colors that fit the artwork or theme/concept of an album, but they went a bit overboard with Tidal Wave. I will do my best to lay out the pressing info a straight forward and easy to understand as possible. It took me a bit of time to straightened everything out, and as far as I know this blog is the only place with the complete, let alone accurate pressing info.
My contact at Hopeless was very helpful, and the pressing info is straight from them. Part of the confusion with the pressing info is that the names/colors Hopeless uses do not match up with what was announced with the item descriptions in various web stores (Merchnow, Hot Topic), and the band themselves describe the colors differently too. Nothing matches up. So that is where it took some time to match up what Hopeless gave me with what Merchnow has/had up with each respective variant and the info that was previously announced. I will outline everything below.
300 copies on coke bottle clear & turquoise half & half w/ white splatter, which is a Hopeless web store (Merchnow) exclusive.
300 copies on transparent blue w/ heavy white splatter, which is a UK / Banquet Records exclusive.
500 copies on “ocean wave” half coke bottle clear/half turquoise w/ coke bottle clear splatter. This is a tour exclusive variant. The band called the color “teal and turquoise half and half with dark blue splatter” on multiple social media sites. Based on photos I’ve seen of the tour variant, it looks like the splatter is blue and not coke bottle clear.
500 copies on coke bottle clear & turquoise half & half / half coke bottle clear/half turquoise, which is a Hopeless web store (Merchnow) exclusive. Hopeless calls the color coke bottle clear & turquoise half & half, while the Merchnow item description called it half coke bottle clear/half turquoise.
500 copies on turquoise / turquoise in light blue (color in color), which is a $hit Topic exclusive. $hit Topic calls it simply “turquoise” while Hopeless calls the color “turquoise in light blue (color in color).” The picture $hit Topic posted illustrates the color in color aspect, so they should have been smarter and not called their exclusive color “turquoise.”
700 copies on turquoise swirl / a-side coke bottle clear/b-side turquoise, which is a Hopeless web store (Merchnow) exclusive. Hopeless calls the color turquoise swirl (which hype stickers also say), while the Merchnow item description called it a-side coke bottle clear/b-side turquoise.
3,000 copies on clear with blue & turquoise splatter. This color was initially thought to be an indie record store exclusive, but turned out to just be a retail exclusive. Retail meaning if you bought a copy from anywhere other than Merchnow, $hit Topic or from the band on tour.
And if all that wasn’t enough somewhere along the line an incorrect hype sticker was affixed to one of the variants, citing a nonexistent color. This incorrect sticker said “black w/ red splatter” and according to Hopeless it was affixed to some, not all of the coke bottle clear & turquoise half & half / half coke bottle clear/half turquoise copies. I came across a photo of that hype sticker on Discogs (I’m sure someone will add this new info I’m providing to Discogs) and asked Hopeless about it. That was the answer I was provided. I’m also including a photo of the erroneous hype sticker below to show I’m not a nutcase.
To further illustrate Hopeless milking TBS, they had not one, not two, not three or even four, but seven pre-order bundles for this album. In my opinion one pre-order bundle is too many. But having bundles with unnecessary nonsense like coffee mugs, pint glasses and coffee beans is just that; unnecessary and nonsensical. I’m not being sarcastic and making up odd and/or ridiculous items for a bundle. Coffee beans were included with all of the bundles while the limited 100 unit supply lasted. Apparently having an exclusive blend of coffee beans is the new hip thing any band has to have in order to be considered a legit band. TBS weren’t the first and likely won’t be the last.
The bundles were done in tiers, ranging from a mind-boggling $200 down to a more reasonable $59. The bundle items included test presses, t-shirts, sweat shirt (no, not a hoodie), coffee mugs, exclusive coffee beans, pint glasses, wall flags, slipmats, photo booklets and vinyl and CD copies of the album. Obviously the cheaper bundles included fewer items, with the top-tier $200 including all of those items. The test pres cost $57, based on the fact that the bundle #2 (second most expensive, cost $143) had everything in bundle #1 (most expensive) except the test press. The first 500 bundles regardless of what bundle you ordered received an autographed booklet. No mention of if it’s the booklet from the CD version (which it likely was) or the photo booklet from some of the bundles though. For the sake of space I’m not including the breakdown of all the variants or how much each item cost. Though I do have that information copy and pasted from Merchnow into a word document.