Magnetic Fields (French title: Les Chants Magnétiques, a play of word of chant, song, and champ, field) is the third mainstream album by Jean Michel Jarre (his fifth album in all), released on Disques Dreyfus on 22 May 1981. The album was one of the first records to use sampling as a musical element and represents a departure from the sound of Jarre's previous efforts, although his distinct style is instantly recognizable throughout the duration of the album. For this album Jarre was partly inspired by the works of Andy Warhol and a fascination with the reproducibility of digital sound.
The long first track consists of three distinct movements, the slower second movement being heavily laden with sample work, foreshadowing the sound of Jarre's 1984 album Zoolook.
The album reached #6 in the UK charts and #98 in the U.S. charts.
The album has official titles in both French and English. The French title, Les Chants Magnétiques is a play on words. Literally translated into English this means "Magnetic Songs" or "Magnetic Singing". Spoken aloud however, it sounds as "Les Champs Magnétiques" (literally: "Magnetic Fields"), due to the French words chants (songs or singing) and champs (fields) being homophones. As this is not the case in English, such word play could not have survived translation, and the more straightforward title "Magnetic Fields" was chosen instead. In the caption for picture 5 on the album's inner sleeve, the word "champs" in "champs magnétiques" is crossed out and the word "chants" is written above it.