Starfish & Coffee – Prince (Sign O’ the Times, 1987)
One of my all-time favorite Prince songs http://wp.me/p5Zdks-5z, Starfish & Coffee off of the brilliant double-LP ‘Sign O’ the Times’, is a master at the height of his craft. This tune in particular seems like what he was going for on 1985’s ‘Around the World In a Day’ with the sunny, psychedelic approach. While a lot of that record seems clunky, this song is breezy and easy in the best pop songwriting way.
Starting with an alarm clock to get your attention the song whisks you away quickly with the piano as Prince paints the picture of being young in a classroom as he recalls a unique classmate who always had the same thing for breakfast every single day:
“Starfish and coffee, maple syrup and jam, butterscotch clouds, a tangerine and a side order of ham!”
Prince has written many a memorable chorus in his day but this has to be one of the chief among them in regards to being fun to sing. While I don’t think I’d ever like to eat starfish and coffee, maple syrup and jam, it sure is a heckuva lot of fun to sing!
As for the song, it’s close to being a children’s song, as evidenced by his performing it with the Muppets for kids to enjoy (see video above). Listening to all the elements of the song, the piano, the chorus, the electronic drumming, whistling for good measure and the other ancillary instrumentation it’s a perfectly constructed pop creation under any circumstances. Go on Cynthia!