First Listen

An Ode to Topo Chico

In a new song from forthcoming album Texas Piano Man, singer-songwriter Robert Ellis crafts a rollicking tribute to his favorite fizzy beverage

If you have to ask what’s so great about Topo Chico, be prepared for an emphatic response—especially if you happen to ask a Texan. It may just be sparkling water, but this particular variety from Monterrey, Mexico, has inspired a cult-like following in the Lone Star State and beyond, with devotees eager to wax on about its superior bubbly-ness. And the hype isn’t over. Now, fans of the fizzy sipper can do more than talk about its merits—they can sing about them, too.

“People always seem to write songs about their favorite alcohol—Jim Beam, iced-down silver bullets.’  I wanted to play against that cliché a little bit,” says Houston singer-songwriter Robert Ellis. A tribute to his beverage of choice, Ellis’s new song “Topo Chico” makes a fitting closer to his forthcoming fifth album, Texas Piano Man. “I mean, of course we have a song about the national beverage of Texas.”

Photo: AlexandraValenti

Robert Ellis.

The song’s lyrical wit (“Set ‘em up/I’ll knock ‘em down/Then I’ll drive you home/After a few more rounds”) and shoutable chorus (“Topo Chico and lime! Topo Chico and lime! I’ll be just fine/with Topo Chico and lime!”) accentuate Ellis’s showmanship—one can easily picture him seated at the keys, barreling through the song as a late-night crowd belts along, bottles held high. Theatrics color the entire album, and while Texas Piano Man may skew more Billy Joel than Billy Joe Shaver, Ellis says the release is still pretty damn Texan. “Texans fancy themselves as wildly independent, brazen, loud. They’re these larger-than-life characters,” he says. “If you think about it, the classic piano men are all of those things, too.”

Garden & Gun is delighted to exclusively premiere “Topo Chico” below. Texas Piano Man will be released on February 14 via New West Records and is available for preorder now.