Fleetwood Mac
Future Games



by Robert Davis USER (306 Reviews)
January 17th, 2015 | 11 replies

Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist

As if it wasn't unfortunate enough for Fleetwood Mac to lose Peter Green after Then Play On, the band also lost Jeremy Spencer with 1970's mixed Kiln House, replaced swiftly by guitarist Bob Welch, who on the album's successor, Future Games, proved a qualitative match. The band's fifth album was also the first to feature Christine McVie, and so with a line-up of five fairly consistent and talented musicians, Fleetwood Mac were surely ready to tackle any oncoming problems. Originally, Future Games was set to be released as a seven-track record, but due to a rather unimpressed record label, the band had injected a bit of filler in "What a Shame", an instrumental track which barely lived up to all the hype. That said, Fleetwood Mac's fifth album is certainly something of a grower, yet at the same heralds as much memorable songwriting as its predecessor.

What is instantly notable with Future Games is how the production has gone from a rawer, straightforward approach to a dreamier atmosphere in the space of a year, and this aspect certainly covers the majority of the album. Whilst the two songs which explore this new production the most serve as both the opener and closer of Future Games, you can also hear the psychadelic flourishes briefly throughout the album's longer songs, particularly "Sands of Time" and the evocative title track. The rhythm section remains fairly straightforward but what happens to take a more adventurous role is both the vocal delivery and the structure of each song, at times exceeding the simplicity to incorporate a slightly more progressive approach. Opener "Woman of 1000 Years" is dreamy and wistful to the point where the instrumentation loses itself in the mix, but just when this happens, Kirwan's memorable guitar work appears and the rock-oriented style is more prominent than anything else. The same feeling can be said for the likes of "Morning Rain" , "Show Me a Smile" and to a lesser extent, "Sands of Time", but not quite in the same way.

Whilst the new appearances of Christine McVie and Bob Welch do appear to give a strong advantage to the band's co-operative talent, there are fillers other than "What a Shame" to be found. Whilst that particular song was evidently rushed onto the album's finishing touches, the repetitive nature of the title track and "Sands of Time" do almost ruin the enjoyment to be had. Notwithstanding the obvious instrumental prowess of Kirwan and co., but there eventually comes a time towards the end of these tracks where you wish they could have been considerably shorter, because a respective length of eight and seven minutes does seem a bit much, even for Fleetwood Mac's musical aspirations. In this case, the album feels unfortunately incomplete, but making up for that are the distinctive highlights in "Woman of 1000 Years" and the straightforward, feel-good "Sunshine", which definitely harks back to the band's earlier years.

All in all, Future Games was another vital step forward in Fleetwood Mac's rise to a more notable success. The addition of naturally gifted songwriter Christine McVie and replacement Bob Welch didn't seem to hamper the album's progress, and yet there was still a bit of work to be done with the less memorable tunes. That said, there never seems to be a point where the dreamy production leaves the listener's ears, and for that reason, Future Games feels like a treasure to behold. Different to its predecessor, but just as important to Fleetwood Mac's musical direction.

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user ratings (81)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 17th 2015


Sweet review Robert, pleasure to read.

January 17th 2015


Album Rating: 2.5

As always, a pleasurable read Robert.

January 17th 2015


As if it wasn't unfortunate enough for Fleetwood Mac to lose Peter Green with Then Play On, the band also lost Jeremy Spencer with 1970's mixed Kiln House

Well Jeremy Spencer wasn't really much of a loss, let's be honest.

Also you might wanna say "after Then Play On" in the first part of this sentence as Peter Green was still the band leader when they made and released The Play On.

January 18th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

I really like this one

January 18th 2015


Album Rating: 2.5

I wasn't such a fan of this one. Although I did find Mac to be a bit hit and miss at times.

July 30th 2021


Album Rating: 5.0

The reason for the "dreamy" sound on this album is due to Danny Kirwan taking lead of the band for this album and then again on Bare Trees. He was only 21 years old when he recorded this album with Fleetwood Mac and everything he did with was amazing and hardly filler. I remember hearing the heavy reverb lines of Sands of Time coming out of a neighborhood garage and I had to find out who it was immediately. His tone and melodic lyricism was amazing. It was very sad when he had to leave the band following a violent argument and he never recovered from a life of alcohol and mental illness. His short musical contributions still bring me joy to this day and this album has been replayed in my house frequently over the years. Just like Nick Drake, if you meet someone who loves Danny Kirwan's music, you have found someone with a deep soul worth a relationship with.

Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2021


I didn't like Kiln House much but I'm looking forward to this "more dreamy" sound. Nice read dude.

Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2021


Always nice to see some love for the pre-Buckingham/Nicks era of Fleetwood Mac

Staff Reviewer
September 7th 2021


so far only enjoyed 2 tracks, the opener and future games, the rest is... meh...

December 15th 2022


Album Rating: 4.0

This is an underrated entry in the early catalog. The title track is killer, and there are some other great tracks, too. A few filler tracks, "What a Shame" in particular (and what a shame indeed), but the strong/good outweighs the lesser.

June 17th 2023


Album Rating: 3.5

Title track and Sands Of Time pair well

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