When not busy chipping away at icons, Goldman (Elvis, The Live, of John Lennon)--as evidenced by this prickly collection of magazine and newspaper articles and a few book extracts--can be one sharp musico-cultural critic. In People magazine in 1984, for example, he pinpointed Michael Jackson's newfound success: He ""is the first hero of a new youth culture that is essentially Kiddie Kulture. His is the innocent world of Boys and girls who have not yet reached the age of puberty. Never before have kids of this age exercised a commanding influence on pop culture""; in Disco (1988), Goldman characterized the ""normal"" state of Studio 54 as ""an immense can of frantically wriggling worms."" Goldman throws darts at a few familiar targets here (""The Elvis of 1956 looks like a traffic signal: bright green or red sports jacket over navy blue socks...""), but, mostly, in these 31 pieces written over the past two decades, he roams afield Rom the subjects of his bestselling bios, analyzing the societal implications of soul music and the blues, the tango, carnival in Rio, R.D. Laing, the rock-opera Tommy, and myriad other phenomena with spunk and relish.