Tituss Burgess is taking a stand against No. 45 himself, Donald Trump, in a new bubbling political anthem against hopelessness and an accompanying music video.
The new track, simply titled “45,” is the first single off Burgess’ EP Saint Tituss, which is set for a July 26 release.
Burgess co-wrote the single with Daniel J. Watts, who’s also featured on the track.
The song “45” comes out of the hopelessness the Emmy-nominated Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star has continued to see since Trump took office.
“Everywhere I look, people are losing hope,” he said in a statement. “We are letting this man in the highest office of our country dictate our lives when he works for us. We’ve gotten used to his shenanigans. This is not normal.”
So his new song, he says, is a wake-up call for the hopeless and marginalized to realize that they are the hope to change the world.
The video kicks off with a tuxedoed man tickling the ivories at a grand piano before cutting to a server swiveling us into a room full of men and women in suits, and with Trump-esque blue eyes painted over their closed eyelids.
What stand out, though, are the two men—Burgess himself and Watts—who are tied to pillars by their wrists.
The server pours glasses of red wine (Pinot noir, we presume?), and the suits raise their glasses in the air before the screen turns black and the number “45” is scrawled across it in white.
The song picks up with a burst of electric guitar as the suits begin to dance with gloved hands in the air, as if they’re being controlled by a puppet master. We see Burgess’ face staring back at us as he’s strait-jacketed in a barren, white-walled, prison-like room.
But his words are more uplifting than his surroundings.
“I don’t fear ‘cause I know we’re the cure,” he sings, crescendoing into a musical theater-style belt before the song takes an early-2000s pop-sounding turn with falsettos, synth and grooving guitars.
“Oh 45, a real nosedive for America,” Burgess sings on as Watts questions, “Y’all really voted for this man?” in the background.
“I’m so transfixed,” he continues, dancing gleefully in typical Tituss Burgess fashion. “He’s dumb as bricks.”
Then Watts takes his turn, rapping about how he wishes we could go back to Obama and laments about the prejudice minorities face before Burgess takes the reins to close out the track.
“I am strong,” Burgess reassures us with his flowing cape billowing in the wind.
Saint Tituss will be Burgess’s third album, following his previous albums Here’s To You and Comfortable.
Weaving pop and R&B, Saint Tituss promises to be his most soul-searching work yet.
“Anything I create is always born out of some deficit,” he explains in a statement. “I need to bridge the gap between what I listen to and the content that’s most important to me, and also to perform a personal exorcism. That is how Saint Tituss was born.”
Best-known for his role on Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Burgess is also a Broadway star with credits including Guys and Dolls, The Little Mermaid, Jersey Boys and Good Vibrations.
On today’s new track, he joins Watts, also no stranger to theater, who’s taken a swing in Hamilton on Broadway, and has performed in The Little Mermaid, In The Heights and Memphis, among many others.
You can take a look at the full tracklist for the EP, the “45” single art and the new music video below, plus our 2017 interview with Burgess in the Paste Studio.
Saint Tituss Tracklist:
1. “45” feat. Daniel J. Watts
2. “Learn to Love” feat. Daniel J. Watts
3. “Those Pretty Eyes”?“I’ll Be Alright”
4. “Open Letter”
5. “The Sun Is Out Again”
“45” Single Art: