Finding Dory is a rare sequel in that it not only matches the quality of the original film, but also doesn't feel like a sequel. One of the many ways the film distances itself from Finding Nemo is through its score, which is once again composed by Thomas Newman. The melodies written for Nemo were so memorable and iconic, but those themes related to Nemo and Marlin's journey, not Dory's.
Thomas Newman spends most of the film with new, original score specifically written for Dory's adventure. A few themes from Nemo resurface every now and then, but overall the story stays with Dory and so does the music. Dory's themes feel closely related to Newman's score from WALL-E rather than Finding Nemo, which also helps set some distance between the two films.. Fans who have yet to see Finding Dory are strongly cautioned not to read track names as they contain major spoilers.
There is one new song in the film called "We're Going Home," which is also written by Newman. It's sung by a migrating school of stingrays and sounds like a refined version of Mr. Ray's "Let's Name the Zones." Similar to that song from Finding Nemo, it's also incredibly short.
Those looking for something more main stream will find it in track 30, a cover of Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" by Sia. The Australian singer's vocals are perfectly leant to this song, with a vibrato that matches the speed of ripples on a shoreline. The floaty arrangements add to the oceanic feeling, but the lyrics are what match so well since Dory is so forgetful, yet unforgettable at the same time.
If you would prefer to have a few tracks that encapsulate most of the major themes from the film, the end credit tracks are exactly what you're looking for. Instead of one 7-minute-ish piece, the soundtrack breaks it into three tracks. "Three Hearts (End Title)" combines the heist themes of Dory and Hank's attempts to break out of the Marine Life Institute. "Loon Tune" features the erratic score elements that match Dory's quirky personality and "Fish Who Wander" focuses on the adventure themes. However, the sadder themes are missing among these and for those, the best track is called "...Shells."
I'm a big fan of Thomas Newman's scores and Finding Dory joins his credits on other Disney films including the original Finding Nemo, WALL-E and Saving Mr. Banks. The melodies written for this film aren't as memorable or iconic as those of the original, but Newman deserves accolades for not resting on his laurels and simply reusing those pieces throughout the film. It's a very creative score and one that I am happy to listen to again and again.