Install AOL 9 drivers for the modem (Broadband) without installing the rest of the software, the drivers are on the version 9 CD. I believe this also applies to dial-up as well.
You will need to un-install all AOL software from your PC the use your username and password to enable the connection of a broadband modem, if dial-up then the same will apply.
Use the new connection wizard to make a connection to AOL inserting Username/Password into your settings as you would with any other ISP. This will now give you access to AOL without the desktop or other software.
Use IE6 or browser of choice to surf the net. For your email requirements, use Express or again any email client you wish. Check with AOL Keyword, "IMAP" for settings of Express.