If you’re a Grateful Dead fan, you already know the power of this album. If you are not a fan, you probably will be after hearing it. There are a lot of presumptions about the Grateful Dead floating around out there.

But, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a pot-smoking hippie to relate to the band’s music.

The Grateful Dead are about the human spirit. Their songs are relatable to any creed, color, or background. The Grateful Dead’s music has depth and meaning that goes beyond the surface level. Quite simply, it makes you feel something. And no album does it better than American Beauty.

“Box of Rain”, sets the tone for the whole album. It’s a refreshing tune with a positive message. The simple melody keeps you enveloped in the lyrics.

The chorus is heartening: “A box of rain will ease the pain / And love will see you through”. This message of love and positivity carries through the peaks and valleys of the rest of the album.

The sixth track, “Ripple” is the pinnacle of American Beauty. The song kicks off with a cheerful acoustic guitar and bass. It’s got that summertime, windows-down, carefree vibe to it. One of the song’s themes is the powerful impact of music, which is reflective of this album as a whole.

In “Ripple”, every lyric seems to contain its own message. “You who choose to lead must follow” is sage advice on leadership. “If your cup is full, may it be again” is a wish for the listener’s prosperity and happiness.

The chorus, “Ripple in still water / When there is no pebble tossed”, reflects on the mysteries of life.

It is difficult to pinpoint the meaning behind every song on this album. While the lyrics can be interpreted differently, its undertones are undoubtedly euphoric.

This album can lift you up out of the bad times and it can carry you through the good. American Beauty has the power to make you happy.