Taylor Swift Wrote “You Are In Love” About Lena Dunham & Jack Antonoff

Nine years ago, it was the kind of relationship she’d “never had.”

Taylor Swift at the '1989' tour. Photo via Getty Images
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Parsing Taylor Swift’s lyrics for clues about the musician’s love life is a required course at the University of Swiftie. However, longtime fans know that not every song is purely autobiographical.

Sometimes, Swift takes herself out of the equation to write stories about other people, real or imagined: from teenage love triangles to murderous Olive Garden lovers. One of Swift’s most beautiful love songs isn’t about her at all — but it is about another pair of celebrities very close to her.

In honor of 1989 (Taylor’s Version)’s long-awaited release on Oct. 27, it’s time to revisit “You Are In Love.”

A Hidden Gem Among Gems

The sheer size of Swift’s musical portfolio makes it almost silly to describe any of her songs as a “hidden gem” or “underrated.” As evidenced by the audience’s reaction to “You Are In Love” as an Eras Tour secret song, the track doesn’t want for fans!

But going by numbers alone, “You Are In Love” is a less popular Taylor Swift song. Compared to other 1989 tracks, it only fares better than “This Love” and “I Know Places” in terms of total streams, per the deluxe album’s Spotify page.

That’s not too surprising, of course — it was a bonus track and unlike “New Romantics,” it never got the single treatment. But all this is to say, it’s OK if “You Are In Love” slipped under your radar until now!

Swift’s Friends-To-Lovers Opus

While Swift doesn’t often share what her songs are about (even when they seem fairly obvious), she was open about the inspiration behind “You Are In Love” from the start. As she told Jimmy Kimmel in 2014, the track is “loosely based” on Jack Antonoff and Lena Dunham’s relationship.

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Antonoff sent Swift an instrumental track he’d been working on, and Swift took it from there. “I wrote it as kind of a commentary on what their relationship has been like,” she recalled. “And so, it’s actually me looking in and going: This happened, then that happened, then that happened, and that’s how you knew, you’re in love.

The song’s brief verses documenting everyday life (“Morning, his place / Burnt toast, Sunday”) remind listeners that love doesn’t have to be a grand, sweeping fairytale to be special. “I’ve never had that,” Swift told Elle of the line, “You’re my best friend.” So instead of writing from experience, she wrote from Dunham’s.

“That’s just basically stuff she’s told me,” Swift continued. “And I think that that kind of relationship — God, it sounds like it would just be so beautiful — would also be hard. It would also be mundane at times.”

The Squad Lives On

ICYMI at the time, Dunham was a member of Swift’s expansive friend group and was frequently seen with Swift throughout the 1989 era, even appearing in the star-studded music video for “Bad Blood.”

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Antonoff, meanwhile, was at the beginning of what would become a super fruitful creative partnership with Swift: one that’s still thriving to this day. So “You Are In Love” isn’t just a gorgeous song, but a handy time capsule for Swift’s personal and professional life in 2014.

Sadly, Dunham and Antonoff ended their five-year relationship in late 2017, per E!. However, Swift is still close to both of them — and attended their respective weddings to different people, too.

The Jack Antonoff Love Life Genre

As it turns out, “You Are In Love” isn’t the only song about a Jack Antonoff relationship. Just this year, Lana Del Rey — another of Antonoff’s musical collaborators — shared in Interview that she penned “Margaret” for him and his now-wife, Margaret Qualley.