The song bears similarity, in style, to John Lennon's work in the early 1970s. The piano which features on the track partly emulates that of Lennon's "Jealous Guy", with the three octave jumps in C major. The song also has a backing piano part similar in content to that of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life", which also contains a three octave jump in C major. Liam jokingly claims that it took him nine years to write the song. However, in a different interview Liam Gallagher claimed that he wrote the song "While sitting on the end of my bed".
The song features a short speech sample from John Lennon taken from one of his last interviews in 1980. The speech sample says: "As Churchill said, it's every Englishman's inalienable right to live where the hell he likes. What's it going to do, vanish? Is it not going to be there when I get back?".
The song has been noted as one of the highlights of the album by fans, as well as the band themselves, with guitarist Noel Gallagher labelling it "deceptively brilliant". It has also been praised by music critics, with NME calling it a return to form, and comparing it to the music of Oasis-admired rock band The Beatles.
It charted at number 12 in the UK Singles Chart – the first Oasis single to miss the top ten since 1994, ending the band's streak of 22 consecutive top tens. It spent only two weeks in the UK top 75, the least ever by any Oasis single. Although only peaking at number 48 in France, the song spent a total of 28 weeks in the French Singles Chart, the most ever by any Oasis single.
The music video for "I'm Outta Time" was released in November 2008. Filmed in black and white, it shows Liam Gallagher, the only band member to appear in the clip, on a "surreal journey through a moon-lit English landscape". At the end of the video, Liam is filmed in a close-up profile shot lying down. This bears resemblance to the back cover artwork for John Lennon's album Imagine. It also resembles the cover of Lennon's 1973 album Mind Games.